ANZ CEO: 'We have not been winning'

Shayne Elliot. Photo: ANZ Group/ YouTube.

After a year at the helm of ANZ bank, CEO Shayne Elliot has admitted he has not been leading a “winning” team in 2016.

This year the ANZ boss reversed the bank’s Asia growth strategy, defined by his predecessor Mike Smith, cut the dividend, dealt with trader scandals, reduced the workforce by 3600 people and is considering selling off key parts of its wealth management business.

“People want to work in a winning team,” said Elliot. “Unfortunately, we have been able to show that we have not been winning – particularly for our shareholders.”

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, Elliot said: “Our people want to do something about it. So it’s our job as management to lay out a vision and a path of how to improve that.

“We have said we need to simplify the bank, focus on where we can win, identify where those areas are, and put all those resources into that.”

In October the ANZ has sold its Asia retail and wealth business — arguably Elliott’s biggest move this year.

Elliot reflected on a quote from Winston Churchill — “No matter how good the strategy, it pays to look at the results once in a while”, and added: “We have to look at the results, and we weren’t doing as good enough for our shareholders as we should have.”

The bank posted an 18% fall in full year cash profit to $5.9 billion, analysts had expected between $6.2 billion and $6.4 billion in cash profit.

Statutory profit after tax for the year to September was $5.7 billion, down 24%, and operating income slipped 3% to $20.529 billion. Banks that are disciplined about – and focused on – costs will have an edge in the coming years, as Elliott sees it.

The AFR has more.

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