National Australia Bank said on Wednesday that Ross McEwan, chief executive after more than four years, is leaving the bank and will be replaced by Andrew Irwin, currently head of commercial and private banking.
McEwan, Australia's second-largest bank, said it would step down from its executive role and hand over the reins to Irvine, who holds dual British-Canadian citizenship, effective April 2. Irwin has been NAB's group managing business and private banking since 2020.
Prior to joining NAB, Irwin was Head of Canadian Commercial Banking at Bank of Montreal. He served in various roles at BMO for over 12 years.
Irwin will also take over from McEwan as chairman of the Australian Banking Association on behalf of the bank.
“Andrew is ideally suited to lead NAB into its next chapter of growth and performance for our customers, colleagues and the communities we serve,” NAB Chairman Philip Cronichan said in a statement.
Irwin said in the statement that NAB is “on the right path to becoming a better bank” and that he will work to further deliver the bank's strategic ambitions.
McEwan's departure comes at a time when bosses at other leading Australian banks, such as ANZ Bank CEO Shayne Elliott, are likely to step up.
McEwan led the NAB through four eventful years. He joined the bank in December 2019 with a mandate for change following a public inquiry into wrongdoing in the financial sector.
He led the bank through the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted operations and prompted changes in banking systems worldwide.
Shares in NAB fell 1% at the open, while the broader index gained 0.7%.
NAB in November reported an increase in its annual cash profit as it benefited from increased interest rates and a rise in loans and deposits.
“Friend of animals everywhere. Web guru. Organizer. Food geek. Amateur tv fanatic. Coffee trailblazer. Alcohol junkie.”