Ken Henry is gone

One of the great ironies of Australia is that people often get done for something other than what they did.

Ken Henry should have been sacked by the Howard government in early 2007.

He wasn’t and there has been a lot of blood under the bridge since then.

But, to his credit, Ken Henry spoke truth to power when he appeared at the Banking Royal Commission late last year. Yes, he was arrogant – treating the Commission with the contempt that it deserved being as it was a political hit job by the Labor and National parties. If he had been addressing Senate estimates most of the gallery would have approved of his approach to the Commission. Yes, he spoke some nonsense about shareholder capitalism that annoyed Judith so much.

But … he also more or less told them that there are so many complex and overlapping regulations that banks have to comply with that they couldn’t actually be fully compliant at all times.

But private sector managers are held to a higher standard than are public sector managers and the very people who lionised him when he was Treasury Secretary howled for his blood.

Today they got it.

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39 Responses to Ken Henry is gone

  1. stackja

    Lazy voters and lazy shareholders?

  2. stackja

    …But private sector managers are held to a higher standard …

    David Jones boss quits retailer for ‘person reasons’
    John Dagge, Herald Sun
    an hour ago
    Subscriber only

    The boss of David Jones, who has abruptly left the department store chain, was subject to a discrimination complaint last year.

    David Jones this afternoon said it had received a complaint of discrimination against chief executive David Thomas in November last year.

    The nation’s oldest department store had announced Mr Thomas was standing down as chief executive for “personal reasons” earlier today.

    But it says his departure has no link to the discrimination complaint which was investigated, David Jones said.

  3. JC

    I think he should have been fired, Sinclair. It’s not because of the way he spoke to the idiots at the woyal commission. It’s the fact that the bank under his watch (along with Tornbum) essentially stole money from their depositors. NAB believed they had a right to rifle through poeple’s accounts and help themselves. How is that not bank robbery from the other side of the counter?

    Yes, he should have been fired twice!

  4. Banks hold a position in the community such that they have to be beyond reproach. Or do you think that people have an alternative to banks if they wish to exist in today’s society?

    In the free market there’s always an alternative, so says Sinc, unless there isn’t.

  5. stackja

    Two future Chris Bowen advisers?

  6. Don’t agree. He got done for what he done.

    Let there be no doubt that he was advised about how to behave and what to say at the royal commission – you know, like truth to power. His ginormous ego would not permit him to do what was in the best interest of the bank he is/was chair of.

    The arrogance, including in his response to the market on Tuesday, dripped off like the sweat off an obese man in a sauna.

    Don’t forget also the record 81% vote against the remuneration structure he tried to push through. He would have no doubt been told by his exceptionally capable head of investor relations what the voters were thinking and going to do. But Lord Saint Ken had contempt for shareholder voters in as much as his contempt for citizen voters.

    And the conflicts of interest …. going straight from Treasury to the boards of both ASX and NAB. Please.

    Schadenfreude does not sufficiently reflect TAFKAS’ thoughts right now.

  7. Won’t hurt him financially and he will still be admired within the ranks of the rorters he has just left. Probably cops a massive payout as well plus will be appointed to some board or Quango in the near future. So who won? I’ll tell you who lost – NAB customers who were ripped off and now know that no-one will actually pay with a penalty or jail time for stealing on a massive scale

  8. Rebel with cause

    Wombats better get ready for some of Ken’s TLC.

  9. stackja

    Cameron Clyne
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Cameron Clyne (born 21 March 1968)[1] is an Australian businessman, who served as executive Director & Managing Director and Group CEO of the National Australia Bank Group, from 1 January 2009 until 2014. Cameron Clyne retired in August 2014, to be succeeded by Andrew Thorburn.[2]

    In December 2015 he was appointed as chairman of the Australian Rugby Union.[3]

  10. John Constantine

    Once their left begin purging their own creatures, before they actually win the election, it tells us what the secret polling of focus groups is informing them.

    Plus it warns us of how their shorten oligarchs looting cartel will purge all that stand in their way, if their own creatures are disposable, God help the rest of us.

    Comrades.

  11. stackja

    NAB trading halt: NAB chief Andrew Thorburn, chair Ken Henry ousted
    Jeff Whalley, Herald Sun
    2 minutes ago

    Senior banker Philip Chronican, a current NAB director, will serve as acting chief from March 1.

    “We have fallen short, I am dissapointed for that, I am sorry for that and I am accountable for that,” Mr Thorburn said on Thursday night.

    “I realise the boards desire for change and I accept that, I accept that. I don’t have bitterness about it. Today mainly, I have been sad.”

    “The board have the right to make that decision and they make it in the best interests of the company.”

    Dr Henry was also contrite, unlike the arrogant royal commission performance which drew much criticism.
    “I have been reflecting on our inability to meet community expectations and customer expectations in a way we would aspire to,” Dr Henry said.

    “Andrew and I are deeply sorry for our inability to do that — that has driven the decision today.”

    Mr Thorburn also said in a statement it was an an honour to lead the bank.

    “I have had a number of conversations with the chairman this week,” he said. “I acknowledge that the bank has sustained damage as a result of its past practices and comments in the Royal Commission’s final report about them.”

    “As CEO, I understand accountability. I have always sought to act in the best interests of the bank and customers and I know that I have always acted with integrity. However, I recognise there is a desire for change. As a result, I spoke with the board and offered to step down as CEO, and they have accepted my offer.”

    “I look forward to spending time with my wife, our family and friends, and reflecting on the many things I am grateful for, before I embark on a new adventure.”

  12. feelthebern

    My comment from the other thread.

    NAB axes Thorburn.
    So he leaves with pre-determined entitlements that were announced at the time of his employment as CEO.
    NAB allows Henry to resign.
    So he leaves with a lot more generous exit.

  13. Natural Instinct

    If banks are bastards, then customers are whingeing cry babies who make good fodder for the tabloid press.
    1) Dead customer fees – recommendations all solicitors go back to TAFE for a refresher course in how to close off an estate properly because if you (or more accurately your estate) don’t tell the bank your dead, how do you think they are going to find out?
    2) Mortgage brokers are an intermediated sales channel and have to get remunerated somehow. Oh hang on, Woolies, Coles, Myers, David Jones, Kmart etc, etc, are intermediated sales channels too, who get volume rebates, introductory offers and slotting allowances to stock product – recommendation abolish all intermediated sales channels across Australia because they are unfair. Let’s all buy from the producers that would really work well.
    3) People signing up for things they said they didn’t and forms falsified – recommendation Mr Plod should just arrest the 10 or 100 bad apples who undertook the fraud and lock ’em up, not blow up a bank and impose more regulatory oversight.
    4) All this concern about people getting a product they really really want “money now, pay later” (credit) and how it all has to be oh so fair. Recommendation – get the bible influence out of laws, usury is not that bad.
    .
    As a management consultant who has experience in redesigning business models based on external analysis matched to internal capabilities in an environment of regulatory rules, Haynes is a very good retired judge. Why not the Productivity Commission who may know something about industry analysis?
    .
    And dumb pollies who say “yes we are going to do all 75” in under 48 hours. How stupid is that!
    .
    P.S. Did Hayne ever write that the Customers should have refused the offerings, or not even sought it in the first place?
    .

    The Hon Kenneth Hayne AC QC was a Justice of the High Court of Australia from 1997 to 2015. Prior to this, he was appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1992, later serving on the Victorian Court of Appeal until his appointment to the High Court.

    Just the perfect background to be qualified to pontificate on how an industry should be reshaped?

  14. Tezza

    Rereading Judith’s piece on the damage to accountability caused by complex multi-dimensional objectives for corporations, I think she got it right. The problems this approach contributed to at NAB are very closely analogous to the damage done to Treasury and the public interest by Ken’s attempt to create a ‘wellbeing framework’ for departmental advice. Leftists loved it, and traditional economic analysis got short shrift.

  15. Leigh Lowe

    JC

    #2927785, posted on February 7, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    I think he should have been fired, Sinclair. It’s not because of the way he spoke to the idiots at the woyal commission. It’s the fact that the bank under his watch (along with Tornbum) essentially stole money from their depositors.

    Spot on.
    Put simply, Wombat regarded NAB as a personal fiefdom and didn’t give a rats about customers, shareholders or employees. Kind of like running Treasury and treating the taxpayer with contempt really.
    The most disgraceful “Sir Humphrey” xunt’s act of all was turning up to the RC and trying to deflect blame to the lower ranks.
    Hayne correctly didn’t buy it. You don’t get spontaneous breakouts of shitty behaviour in 12 different pockets of the bank by accident.

  16. Pyrmonter

    @ Natural Instinct

    We (as yet) don’t have laws that require the licensing of retailers (planning law comes close, but doesn’t go that far) and the retailers have not lobbyied for the creation of opaque regulations that they themselves struggle to comply with, but which any entrant must. Nor do they (yet) owe a statutory duty to judge the suitability of the products they sell to their customers, something the banks didn’t oppose. The banks do. If Henry didn’t understand that, he shouldn’t have been in the job. If he did, but overweening arrogance made him think himself immune to the basic requirements of honesty, then he wasn’t fit to do his job.

    @ TAFKAS – spot on, again.

    @ Sinc and Natural Instinct. Hayne has – sensibly – dismissed the conspiracy theories about BankWest – the foundation of much of the popular hue and cry for an inquiry. It’s remarkable how little that has been reported, but he was quite emphatic (and even looks right). Some of his other ideas – the abolition of the duty of disclosure in consumer insurance – are the very, superficially attractive ‘policy measures’ that have restricted competition and created the glasshouse environment that has been the inefficient, overpaid, undercapitalised Australian banking and super sectors.

  17. P.S. Did Hayne ever write that the Customers should have refused the offerings, or not even sought it in the first place?

    Whilst one might agree with your sentiment, before criticisng Hayne, please start with the 3 legged fool stool of Howard, Costello and Hockey who brought us the Financial Services Reform Act of 2001 which created this licensing regime.

    All Hayne did was say that these people broke the law that is written. This is what his job was to do. He could have recommended changes, but he could not change the law retrospectively.

  18. C.L.

    But, to his credit, Ken Henry spoke truth to power when he appeared at the Banking Royal Commission late last year. Yes, he was arrogant – treating the Commission with the contempt that it deserved being as it was a political hit job by the Labor and National parties.

    Well said, Sinclair.
    It’s hard to praise the Wombat Whisperer but – so very strange to relate – he’s now the hero.

    I have little doubt banks treat small-scale businesses and average Joes with contempt and think nothing of chewing them up in a dozen different ways. But the RC was a left-wing culture wars show trial (like the mawkish and useless child abuse RC whose targets were George Péll and Tony Abbott).

  19. Major Elvis Newton

    Put simply, Ken Henry was an asshole that should’ve been banished from public life years ago.
    If not for his proposition for an emissions trading scheme then for his craptacular Mining Super Profits Tax.
    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out kemosabe.
    You won’t be missed.
    Somewhere a wombat is needing your urgent attention.

  20. Rusty of Qld

    A couple of the big oinkers have left the sty but the farm still rolls on just as it always has and always will.
    Reaping in the maximum haul from the fertile pickings and spreading a bit of manure on selected areas for crop enhancement.

  21. John64

    Perhaps the NAB Board told Dr Henry the time had come to spend more time with his family.

    “Go hard, go early and go household.”

  22. Louis

    ” It’s the fact that the bank under his watch (along with Tornbum) essentially stole money from their depositors. ”

    So he ran the bank the same way ran the Federal Treasury then.

  23. Rita

    “Dr Henry was also contrite, unlike the arrogant royal commission performance which drew much criticism.”
    He was equally arrogant as Treasury secretary. The left wing media loved him.
    “I have been reflecting on our inability to meet community expectations and customer expectations in a way we would aspire to,” Dr Henry said.
    We all know that senior public servants are adept at coming up with motherhood statements that don’t mean anything. Let’s see you which organisation you will be a parasite of after this.

  24. Clam Chowdah

    Good riddance, arrogant turd.

  25. B.A.Lert

    Man gets gun robs bank- man gets bank robs every poor bastard

  26. Russell

    @ Natural Instinct
    I think you forgot one more bs “finding” of the RC and its recommendation to ban it:
    5) Trailing Commissions were really a good thing (or were at the time they were instituted). Colluding (shonky) brokers would keep moving particular business between one another. They repeatedly collected their “finder” fees from different banks at every opportunity. Who was paying for these additional fees? I’ll give you a hint – not the bank.
    Trailing commissions not only spread the up-front fee for the customer but it also helped make this dodgy practice of “recycling repeat business” less attractive to the broker schemers.

    @”Ken Henry is an exploiting capitalist banker”
    Nah – he’s a “courageous” SJW who was planted by union controlled super funds to inflict maximum damage on banks. Good actor with plenty of arrogance and bluster but then falls on his sword just a little too easy. Feels like an episode of The Americans. You’ve all been conned.

  27. Natural Instinct

    Russell
    Almost all intermediated channel contracts have an anti-churn provision.
    This “clawback clause” penalises a broker who churns their customers in three years from loan drawdown date.
    See the market solves the problem not lawyers.

  28. Natural Instinct

    P.s. Did Haynes study the US market where 80% of home loans are through brokers with upfront and trailing commission? Are US mortgage holders worse off?
    Did he study why Australian brokers only peaked at about 50% of channel source.? How banks responded with their own mortgage managers remunerated similarly?

  29. Ve2

    Stop your bloody whining, if you don’t like getting ripped off go to another bank.
    Better still, be smart and buy NAB shares.

  30. Mother Lode

    I gather he told the board “Go hard. Go early. Go households.”

  31. Percy Popinjay

    I have zero sympathy for anyone who has ever had their money with NAB, either as account or shareholders.

    It has always been the most poorly performed and avaricious of the so called “big four”, consistently offering the lowest quality and most expensive banking “products” to those fool enough to seek them.

    As someone has noted elsewhere, don’t be surprised if the big beneficiary of that pair of bastards falling on their swords is that paragon of competence and trustworthiness, Mike “Greyhounds 4 Evah” Baird.

  32. Gertrude

    Sinc, you got it right this time. Henry spoke the truth to the RC. Sadly, that commercial truth may be forgotten in the frenzied rush to regulate.

  33. Roger

    …he also more or less told them that there are so many complex and overlapping regulations that banks have to comply with that they couldn’t actually be fully compliant at all times.

    That’s no excuse for charging dead people fees.

    Henry et. al. should count themselves lucky they’re not going to prison.

  34. Andre Lewis

    Poster Natural Instinct has it right. The Royal Witch Hunt was a lawyers picnic that heard anecdotal whinges from individuals with an axe to grind and extrapolated that into industry wide behaviour. So a few million in refunds ensued while $75 billion was wiped of shareholder value just brilliant. Most of the CEOs except Henry rolled over like naughty children instead of pointing out that banks are a benefit to the economy in many ways despite failings that should not happen again.
    Henry was a department head in the federal government and very typical of Secretaries of this ilk. They are often arrogant, unbending and sure of their own views which is how they get to the top in the public service. Maybe that’s what it takes but of course they get sound advice on occasion that they ignore because they think they know better.

  35. The Fifth Bike Rider of the Apocalypse

    Wombats better get ready for some of Ken’s TLC.

    Au contraire.
    I suggest the first wombat that Ken sees will get a kick in the hole-in-the-wall!

  36. Squirrel

    If the big banks feel the need to recruit the occasional public sector type to their board, they might be better searching for someone who has been truly successful in running a large, geographically dispersed, customer-focused organization.

    One way and another, banks head-quartered in Sydney and Melbourne would already have abundant access to people with impressive economic credentials.

  37. Natural Instinct

    Roger

    That’s no excuse for charging dead people fees.
    Henry et. al. should count themselves lucky they’re not going to prison.

    How do you expect the banks to know you have shuffled off this mortal coil, unless someone tells them?
    And when they found out, guess what they (the banks) refunded in most cases all their fees deducted. Shoot a solicitor for incompetence not a banker for doing what was signed up for by the deceased.
    .
    The bank’s PR failed miserably in an age of #MeToo. And the Banking Association’s spokeswomen shows how low they have fallen. Does she actually believe banks are a good? CEO’s roll over and apologise for what?
    .
    P.S. The US has such high broker sourced loans due to state based banking regulations. A bank finds it hard but to go across states but a broker can bring in a customer and thus facilitate asset growth. The Australian bank employed Mobile Mortgage Managers (a blocking strategy to stop broker channel growth) offer much of the benefits of a broker, i.e. out of business hours service, come and see you F2F, etc, the only think they can’t offer is choice of product manufacturer, but with our banking oligopoly the difference in rates between majors are not that great to swing a deal.
    .
    P.P.S. ACCC, APRA, ASIC and now a regulator oversight regulator, what about the good old normal police if fraud has been found to be done.

  38. sdfc

    Percy

    someone has noted elsewhere, don’t be surprised if the big beneficiary of that pair of bastards falling on their swords is that paragon of competence and trustworthiness, Mike “Greyhounds 4 Evah” Baird.

    I’d lay money on it.

  39. sdfc

    NAB were caught skimming super accounts. You get paid the big bucks you’ve gotta accept responsibility.

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