(Refiles to fix date)
By Stanley Carvalho
ABU DHABI, April 3 National Bank of Abu Dhabi
(NBAD) appointed Alex Thursby from Australia and New
Zealand Banking Group as its new chief executive on
Wednesday, tapping his international experience to bolster the
lender's overseas push.
Thursby, currently CEO for the International & Institutional
Banking Division of ANZ, has been appointed group CEO of NBAD
effective July 1, the Abu Dhabi-based lender said in a
He succeeds Michael Tomalin whose retirement from the bank
after 14 years at the helm was announced a year ago. Tomalin
will remain in a non-executive director's role.
NBAD has turned its focus outward and aims for its
international division to contribute 25 percent of the bank's
operating profit in five years and 40 percent of operating
profit by 2021.
Almost 70 percent-owned by the Abu Dhabi government, NBAD is
the most international of the United Arab Emirates' banks with
operations in 14 countries on four continents. It aims to be in
41 markets by 2021, mostly in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
British-born Thursby was one of the main executives behind
CEO Mike Smith's push for ANZ to become a super regional bank.
ANZ is expanding aggressively in Asia, where it now aims to
double its earnings to up to 30 percent of its total inside the
next five years.Ÿ
Thursby brings with him some 30 years of experience in
international banking, most of it in the Asia-Pacific, the
Middle East, Africa, Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand.
"He (Thursby) is extremely well-regarded across the market
as a strong banking leader with a reputation for developing and
growing businesses accompanied with a strong risk management
approach," the statement said.
Tomalin, credited with steering the bank into a raft of new
businesses such as a brokerage firm, a property and leasing
subsidiary and an Islamic banking unit, has been criticised by
some for adopting a cautious approach in lending during a
six-year, oil-fuelled boom between 2002 to 2008.
While that tack helped it escape the fallout from Dubai's
2009 debt crisis - NBAD had the least exposure among top UAE
banks to the emirate and its struggling real estate sector -
bankers say the lender must become more aggressive in the
crowded UAE market, home to some 50 local and foreign banks.
"Some local banks such as First Gulf Bank and
others are snapping at NBAD's heels and could overtake it in
profitability soon," said a senior banker. "NBAD needs to
realise its full potential and be more of a risk taker."
For Thursby, a big challenge in the new job will be
sustaining the bank's asset and profit growth both locally and
(Additional reporting by Lincoln Feast in Sydney; Editing by
Dinesh Nair and Chris Gallagher)