The 69 cent fall in ANZ’s shareprice this morning has wiped out most of the gains made from Tuesday’s news that the bank was “de-layering”. That is, taking out an unspecified number of management and semi-management positions.
It was the third overhaul in as many years and by the end of this week an estimated 500 positions will have been made redundant, along with the occupants.
But ANZ insiders say the cuts are poorly designed and will total 2,000 by the end of this year, if the internal reports on which the restructure is based are followed to their fullest extent.
Head of personal banking Brian Hartzer is the big winner, being named as the chief executive for all ANZ’s Australian operations and a possible successor to CEO, Mike Smith.
The cuts and changes reflect the report on securities lending called in April and delivered last month. Two other senior executives are also winners as a result of the report and the restructure.
David Hiscoe, who was managing director of Esanda, ANZ’s stand alone finance company, was on the lending inquiry committee. He will now head business banking, which will be carved from the dismembered institutional business. Mr Hiscoe is understood to be remaining as head of ANZ. He will report to Brian Hartzer as boss of Australia
And Chris Page (a former HSBC workmate of Mr Smith) was head of Risk, Asia Pacific. Mr Page is now the bank’s chief risk officer, a significant promotion. The inquiry into securities lending also included Mr Smith and David Crawford, who is the chairman of Fosters and a former director of Westpac. The financial newsletter The Sheet observed on April 15, the day after the inquiry was called that:
Short of a spectacular scandal – top execs or directors in the thick of it, perhaps – there’s nothing in the affair that ANZ credit recovery and police work cannot resolve.
So why the props for Mike Smith?
The outsider is David Crawford, who, when at KPMG, handled many workouts sorting out the end of the 1980s boom. Mike Smith, then front person for HSBC in Australia, will have met him then.
Crawford later served on the Westpac board and ran the bank’s audit committee until he stepped down last year.
Chris Page, head of risk for Asia Pacific, might learn from the head office fiasco. Page, note, worked with Smith at HSBC until recently.
Maybe Smith has other goals in mind: such as promotion for Page and David Hiscoe, the Esanda head who also joins the review.
Those are significant upgrades in their jobs and in their importance inside the bank. All for sitting on a committee that should have been totally independent by being conducted by an outside group of investigators.
The report cleared the board, but a couple of directors are worth taking aim at when shareholders meet in December: former BHP CEO, Jerry (Magma Copper) Ellis who is head of the audit committee and Margaret Jackson, who tried to pilot Qantas into the arms of the private equity group lead by Macquarie Bank and TPG. She was there during the step up in lending to the likes of Tricom and Opes Prime.
And of course chairman Charles Goode, who continues to act as an executive chairman, according to insiders, in the everyday running of the business. In fact some, staff report sightings of Mr Goode in the senior management car park some days, checking the bona fides of people parking there. Is it a case of keeping out the little people from other floors who are trying to move up the greasy pole of ANZ banking?
And, finally, there are reports from inside the bank that the ANZ has settled with disaffected senior executive, Steve Targett, and the sum of $20 million has been mentioned.