Mike Smith is resigning as CEO of ANZ

Photo: Mike Smith CEO of ANZ/ Getty Images.

We knew it was coming, but now it appears today is the day.

Mike Smith has stepped down as CEO of ANZ bank and will be replaced by Shayne Elliott, the current chief financial officer.

The board made the announcement this morning that Elliott will take over and join the board on January 1, 2016.

As chief financial officer, Elliott, 51, has been responsible for all aspects of finance as well as group strategy, legal, treasury, investor relations and mergers and acquisitions.

Originally from New Zealand, Elliott has over 30 years experience in international banking including in Australia, New Zealand, Asia Pacific and the Middle East. He joined ANZ as CEO Institutional in June 2009.

ANZ chairman David Gonski said Smith has transformed ANZ into Australia’s only international bank with a focus on Asia Pacific.

“Mike was appointed chief executive as the world was entering the global financial crisis. Despite those headwinds and a volatile environment for banks around the world, his leadership has seen ANZ continue to grow market share in Australia and establish a strong, growing New Zealand business under one brand,” Gonski said.

“He has transformed ANZ into one of Asia Pacific’s leading banks with operations in 34 countries, delivering strong outcomes for our customers and for our shareholders.”

Under Smith’s reign, ANZ was named as Australia’s most valuable bank brand.

Just last year the bank added more than $100 million to its brand value over 12 months to take out the position as part of the Brand Finance Banking 500 study. Read more about that here.

Elliott says he is honoured to have the opportunity to lead ANZ and looks forward to working with Smith during the transition period and “building on the foundation he has established”.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg TV, he was asked about when he would step down. “Well you know … within the year,” Smith said.

“I think when I took on the job, when I left Hong Kong all those years ago, I thought my tenure would be about five to seven years and I’ve done eight years, so I’ve publicly said that by sometime soon I’ll be hanging up my boots,” he said. Read more here.

Smith is the longest-serving big four bank chief following the departure of Gail Kelly from Westpac.

Here’s a look at the bank’s share price while Smith was leading the company.

Although the value of ANZ shares fell over the course of Smith’s reign, he presided over a tumultuous period for financial markets. Smith took control of the bank on October 1, 2007, less than a year before the global financial crisis hit.

More to come.

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