It was a case of second time lucky for the Commonwealth Bank in trying to lure Kiwi Ralph Norris across the ditch – which just might be the best recommendation of all for the CBA CEO-designate’s judgment. My mail is that Norris rejected an earlier attempt to transfer him from running the ASB in Auckland to Sydney head office.
Ostensibly he loved that harbour city too much to leave it for the real one. Or was he more prescient than most about what happened to outstanding candidates flying too close to David Murray’s orbit?
In any event, I’m claiming to be still well ahead in my betting last Friday on the CBA CEOship, being willing to put $20 on neither Gail Kelly nor John Mulcahy getting it (or even wanting it), but losing $5 on the thought that it would go to an internal appointment as the board wouldn’t want to admit it had been incompetent.
As it has turned out, new chairman John Schubert doesn’t mind sort-of admitting the old board failed in one of its key tasks. Schubert, like Donald McGauchie at Telstra, can always flick the blame for that on to the previous chairmen.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
But that excuse only works once. Thus McGauchie and Schubert must now concentrate on ensuring their very important companies are capable of employing more than one person with the talent to be CEO. If they can’t point to real progress on that score within 12 months, shareholders should start looking for new chairmen who can do the job.