ANZ CEO Says Some Past Conduct by Bank Traders Was Unacceptable

  • Bank committed to action, Shayne Elliot says via Twitter
  • CEO's tweet comes after news two fired traders are suing ANZ

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.’s Chief Executive Officer Shayne Elliott said some of the past behavior of the lender’s markets team was “unacceptable,” in response to lawsuits from two former traders.

ANZ is “committed to action” and had a strong inclusive culture, the Melbourne-based Elliott, who took over as the chief executive on Jan. 1, said in a tweet on Sunday in his first public statement after news of the lawsuit came out on Friday. Etienne Alexiou and Patrick O’Connor, who were fired last year for sending offensive messages and are appealing their dismissals and suing for tens of millions of dollars, claim senior managers condoned a culture of foul language and drunken antics including trips to lap-dancing bars.

ANZ will “vigorously” defend the claims, Chief Risk Officer Nigel Williams said in a statement on Friday. “Appropriate conduct, compliance with ANZ policies and respect for others is paramount” and the lender will take action against those who breach its code of conduct, Williams said in a note to staff on Friday that was obtained by Bloomberg News.

Alexiou and O’Connor were among seven traders suspended by ANZ in November 2014 amid a regulatory probe into the setting of Australia’s benchmark interbank interest-rate. As it sifted through the traders’ emails for that investigation, ANZ discovered messages that violated its policies, it said.

O’Connor’s dismissal related to alleged abuse of a company-issued credit card, ANZ said Friday. His and Alexiou’s dismissals were also related to “highly inappropriate and offensive electronic communication,” the bank said in the statement.

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