Time to go: Cameron Clyne has been in the top job for over five years. Photo: Edwina Pickles
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At 46 the outgoing chief executive of the National Australia Bank was given the option of staying a further three years - but in a rare step for one from the upper echelons of business, Cameron Clyne decided to put his family first and retire. Over the past year he has spent six and a half months out of 12 away from home - a outcome which clearly didn't agree with his preferred work-life balance.
He quipped that he would like his marriage to last longer than his time as a chief executive.
It is an issue that has become a hazard for boards who are appointing younger executives to the top job.
(Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ian Narev has pre-school aged children.)
The incoming NAB boss Andrew Thorburn's children are of university age - which would have been a factor the board took into consideration in his appointment.
While Clyne had been in the job five and a half years his stint still seems truncated relative to his competitors, Gail Kelly from Westpac and Mike Smith from ANZ - neither of which are showing any signs of fatigue.
NAB chairman, Michael Chaney, says Clyne approached the board at the end of last year and suggested he would be open to retiring if the board had a replacement in mind.
Chaney, who talks a lot about succession, said NAB had already devised its CEO 'hit by a bus' contingency so extending this to a full blown assessment of internal talent wasn't a big step.
Last year the bank had conducted an international search to replace the chief financial officer - and had the option of ultimately elevating them to the top job.
Former Merrill Lynch Australia chief, Craig Drummond, took the CFO position and while he was touted as a possible replacement for Clyne the reality is that he had no depth of experience running a full service retail bank.
Thorburn had done a stint running NAB's New Zealand operations - which have long been a testing ground for Australian bank executives.
The big four banks all have large full service and quite independent operations in New Zealand. Clyne had earned his stripes running NAB's New Zealand bank, BNZ.
Meanwhile the next job to be sorted out (other than replacing Thorburn in NZ) will be Chaney's. He will retire late next year but there is no obvious candidate among the board ranks - indeed several more are soon due to retire.
This was surely in Clyne's mind when he was pondering his timing. He needed to go this year or wait until 2016 when a new chairman was bedded down. Two more years was clearly too long.
History will be written and rewritten on Clyne's performance in the role. But his most enduring legacy will be his -break-up' marketing campaign which was an attempt to position the bank as being different than the rest of the pack - with lower fees, the lowest standard variable interest rates and a more user friendly attitude.
The strategy won back market share in its early years and customer satisfaction levels have improved.
(Although its worth noting that the NAB business bank is currently fighting to retain market share as it is in the midst of some competitive warfare.)
Overall Clyne is correct that he will leave the bank in better shape than when he arrived.
He took the job six weeks before the collapse of Lehman Brothers so its fair to say the first few years were a roller coaster ride.
Unfortunately Clyne didn't manage to dispose of the bank's troubled UK operations and can be criticised for underestimating the rot in that market and the weight this anchor would place on NAB.