• Gavin Slater, who headed personal banking unit, will leave
  • The bank exited U.K. business, is selling life insurance unit

Two of National Australia Bank Ltd.’s top managers will leave the firm as the lender overhauls its leadership team and business structure, after exiting underperforming units.

Gavin Slater, who has been on the lender’s executive committee since 2009 and led the personal banking unit for more than three years, will depart along with Renee Roberts, who oversaw enterprise services and business transformation, the Melbourne-based bank said in a statement Friday. Michaela Healey, head of governance and reputation, will retire, it said.

“The time was right to refresh the executive leadership team after two years
during which the team had worked to address major legacy issues and re-focus the bank on the core Australian and New Zealand businesses,” Chief Executive Officer Andrew Thorburn, who has been at the helm since August 2014, said in the statement. “We have made a lot of progress in our core business, but another step change is now needed.”

Returns Focus

The latest changes will allow the lender, one of Australia’s four largest, to better integrate its banking and wealth businesses, and offer a stronger corporate and institutional banking service to customers, it said in the statement. Thorburn is focusing on lifting National Australia’s return on equity, which has lagged its domestic peers for more than a decade. He has exited the U.K. unit and is in the process of selling a majority of its life insurance business to Nippon Life Insurance Co.

As part of the overhaul, the business banking unit will include private banking and will be led by Angela Mentis. A new corporate and institutional banking unit will be formed, while personal banking will include the wealth management business and will be headed by Andrew Hagger, the lender said. The changes will become effective Aug. 1, it said.

This is Thorburn’s second major restructure of the leadership ranks, with the first one announced on the day he took over as CEO.

National Australia’s shares have dropped 10 percent this year, the worst performer among the four-largest Australian lenders.

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