Swinging the axe: NAB chief Andrew Thorburn.

Swinging the axe: NAB chief Andrew Thorburn. Photo: Josh Robenstone

NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn has announced sweeping changes in the bank's top executive ranks in his first day on the job, as he vowed to lift shareholders returns by focusing on the domestic and New Zealand bank.

Business banking boss Joseph Healy and group executive for enterprise services and transformation Lisa Gray will leave the bank as a result of the overhaul.

Chief risk officer Bruce Munro, 61, will retire, while the head of products and markets Rick Sawers has previously said he would be retiring.

Mr Thorburn today announced four internal appointments to fill the positions, saying he had picked a new team to drive stronger returns.

He said the new team’s prime focus would be on building a stronger business in NAB’s core Australian and New Zealand operations.

Angela Mentis, who previously ran nabBusiness, will run the larger business banking division. This is the flagship arm of NAB, but it has recently been losing market share to rivals.

Antony Cahill will be in charge of products and markets, after running lending and deposits until now.

David Gall, who most recently worked in the products and markets area, has been appointed chief risk officer.

And Renee Roberts will move from chief risk officer in New Zealand to fill the position vacated by Ms Gray.

”We understand the need to deliver better returns for our shareholders. We will do this by focusing on our customers and building a stronger Australian and New Zealand franchise,” Mr Thorburn said in a statement.

“NAB has a strong foundation for growth and the new members of the group executive Leadership team are committed to taking the action required to drive stronger results and returns for our customers and our shareholders," Mr Thorburn said.

"These individuals are banking professionals with experience in business and retail, product, risk and technology and share a desire to work as part of a team leading sustainable change across our organisation,” he said.

It is Mr Thorburn’s first day in the job after Cameron Clyne’s retirement, but the new chief executive has been considering the changes since his appointment in April.

Facing intense shareholder pressure for NAB to lift its performance, Mr Thorburn said the new appointments had the depth of experience and expertise needed.

“Selecting a leadership team is one of the biggest decisions a CEO makes, and I have taken the time since my appointment was announced in April to consider who are the best people to take NAB forward,” he said.

Some analysts had predicted that Mr Thorburn would also restructure divisions within NAB, but he said its operating model would remain intact. Other senior executives are remaining in their positions.

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