License article

NAB chief Andrew Thorburn silent on salary package for Mike Baird's new role

NAB's chief executive has refused to be drawn on the remuneration of its most recent high-profile executive appointee, former NSW premier Mike Baird.

Chief executive Andrew Thorburn ducked questions on Mr Baird's remuneration package as the former premier prepares to start work next month.

Up Next

ASX winners and losers - a snapshot

Video duration

More BusinessDay Videos

Baird's pay kept secret

The head of the NAB has refused to reveal how much former NSW Premier Mike Baird will be paid as the bank's new chief customer officer.

Labor MP Madeleine King asked Mr Thorburn to comment on claims the salary could be as high as $2 million.

"Can you not disclose it now … It's been reported in the media that it is about $2 million?" Ms King asked at a parliamentary hearing on Friday.

Mr Thorburn refused to be drawn and said it would be disclosed in the company's annual report.

"That was a thorough process in our company, it will be disclosed at the end of the year as part of our annual review ... you will know at the end of the year," he said.


Earlier this week, it was announced that Mr Baird had accepted a job at NAB as its chief customer officer for corporate and institutional banking.

Mr Baird stepped down as NSW premier and resigned from politics in January, when he said he wanted to spend more time with his family and give his government the opportunity for renewal.

Mr Thorburn was also asked about the decision last month to appoint former Queensland Labor premier Anna Bligh to lead the bank's key lobbying arm, the Australian Bankers' Association. As well as being chief executive of NAB, Mr Thorburn is chairman of the ABA.

Greens MP Adam Bandt said the appointment, along with Mr Baird's, created a perception that big banks were trying to meddle in politics.

"You appointed a former Labor premier to now be your chief lobbyist, and the bank has now taken a  former Liberal premier under its wings within the space of about a month of them leaving office. Can you understand why people think that Labor, [the] Liberals and the big banks are just looking after each other?" Mr Bandt asked.

Mr Thorburn defended the appointments and said in each case there was "a very fair and thorough process".

"Anna Bligh, she's not a banker, she's not like us, she's never worked in banking ... She has been out of politics for six years. If people saw what she did when she faced the floods of Queensland, you will see compassion," he said.

"Mike Baird, for 20 years before going into politics, was a banker, he was a corporate institutional banker. He's got all the capabilities and skills to do an excellent job for us."

Over the next week, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics will hear evidence from the chief of executives from Australia's big-four banks, as part of a government effort to increase accountability for the sector.

This is the second time Mr Thorburn has faced the parliament's economics committee as part of this initiative, after a three-hour grilling in October last year.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the committee hearings in August last year after the major bank's failed to pass on the Reserve Bank's 0.25 per cent rate cut to mortgage holders in full. He said at the time the hearings would give the banks a chance to explain their actions directly to the Australian public.