Home Australia Mike Baird ‘a lead contender’ for NAB CEO after inquiry claims scalps

Mike Baird ‘a lead contender’ for NAB CEO after inquiry claims scalps

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Mike Baird won’t talk about running for the top job at NAB, but UBS analyst Jon Mott says the former NSW premier is a real contender.

Former NSW premier Mike Baird won’t talk about running for the top job at NAB, but plenty of others are linking him with the role.

Mr Baird on Friday refused to be drawn on speculation he was among the frontrunners to replace Andrew Thorburn, who has resigned after his leadership was criticised by royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne.

Asked repeatedly if would be throwing his hat into the ring, Mr Baird replied “no comment”.

“I’m not going to talk about that,” Mr Baird, NAB’s consumer bank boss, told Seven’s Sunrise.

“I got a big job to do and I will do it.”

But UBS analyst Jon Mott said Mr Baird – who began his banking career in 1989 at NAB’s St Ives branch before entering politics – was a real contender.

“We believe NAB has a number of solid internal candidates for CEO, with Mike Baird a lead contender in our view,” Mr Mott wrote in a note to analysts.

Mr Baird has been talked of as a future CEO since Mr Thorburn hired him in 2017, six weeks after he surprisingly quit the NSW premiership and politics in general to spend more time with his family.

2GB Radio host Alan Jones said this week that Mr Baird, “would be a very good CEO”, while current NSW Premier and Mr Baird’s former treasurer Gladys Berejiklian called him “an outstanding individual”.

Mr Baird, NAB’s head of retail banking, said on Friday he was “very proud” of having worked for Mr Thorburn.

“Andrew has the highest integrity of anyone I have ever worked with,” he said.

“He is an amazing man and he has done a great job.

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