Ill health forces ANZ leadership change

Chief executive David Hisco goes on extended sick leave.
Antonia Watson.

ANZ’s managing director of retail and business banking Antonia Watson will be running the bank for an indefinite period after chief executive David Hisco took extended sick leave.

Watson announced the management change in a note to staff yesterday.

The note said Hisco’s prognosis was good “so long as he slows down and takes some time off to recover.

“David has told me he’s keen to get back to work as soon as possible but realises how important his health is. We obviously all wish David a speedy recovery.”

Watson said group chief executive Shayne Elliott and the ANZ New Zealand board had asked her to step in as acting chief executive, as well as fill in for Hisco on group executive meetings and take responsibility for the bank’s Pacific business.

“We have a great team and the second half of the financial year is going well, so I’m sure we’ll all keep the ship running smoothly until David returns.”

Hisco has been off work since May 13 but had been feeling unwell for some time.

Watson joined ANZ in 2009 from Morgan Stanley, where she was a general manager in Budapest.

She has been running retail and business banking since February 2017 after a five-year stint as the New Zealand bank’s chief financial officer.

ANZ, which is chaired by former prime minister Sir John Key, has been hit with two regulatory interventions from the Reserve Bank in the past few weeks.

This month the RBNZ revoked ANZ’s privilege to calculate its own operational risk capital requirement “due to a persistent failure in its controls and attestation process.”

The change added $277 million to ANZ’s regulatory capital requirement.

The RBNZ also imposed new conditions on ANZ’s minimum risk weights for non-defaulting housing and farm loan portfolios.

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