Squiz Today / 08 February 2019
Squiz Today – Friday, 8 February
“I'm not saying gluten free vegemite has changed my life but yes I am.”
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK’S LEADERSHIP SUNK
National Australia Bank’s two most senior people - CEO Andrew Thorburn and chairman Ken Henry - will leave the bank, but not immediately. Thorburn will go at the end of the month. And Henry will walk when a new permanent CEO has been appointed. Philip Chronican, a current director on the company’s board, will serve as acting CEO effective 1 March.
WHAT WENT DOWN?
The writing was on the wall for the duo when they were criticised in the Financial Services Royal Commission report released on Monday. Commissioner Kenneth Hayne was of the opinion they may not have learned the lessons of the past and were unwilling to accept responsibility for the bank’s failings. And it wasn’t just that - the past year has been particularly issues-rich. There’s the investigation into Thorburn’s chief-of-staff over allegations she rorted money from the bank for personal use. And then there was the record-breaking rejection of the bank’s remuneration report by 88% of shareholders at the end of last year - a damning strike against the bank’s leadership by investors.
IT’S HARD TO COME BACK AFTER YOU’VE BEEN CALLED ‘EMBATTLED’...
You’ve got that right… Thorburn tried to get the message out to customers that he was the man to transform the bank, but pundits say the way he responded to the criticism didn’t help. Backstory: he had plans to take long-service leave after the report was released this week (plans that he cancelled given what went down). When asked by Your Money’s Ticky Fullerton what his thinking was around taking leave at such a crucial time, he said; “You have a life outside the company. You know, I’ve got a marriage, I’ve got children, I’ve got elderly parents. They’re the people who I want to spend some time with.” He’ll now have time for all that. For Henry, it was his first significant corporate gig after wrapping up a decade at the helm of the Commonwealth Treasury in 2011. He now has more time to spend with his beloved wombats.
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AND DJ’S BOSS HAS GONE?
Aren’t you on the ball… David Jones’ CEO David Thomas’ resignation yesterday came as a shock to the market. He is the fourth boss of the iconic Aussie department store to go in the last five years. Why? Personal reasons, the business said. Reports say there have been discrimination complaints against him that the business says are unrelated to his departure. Retailers everywhere are having trouble maintaining good sales and profit - a difficult task given the high level of consumer anxiety. DJs struggled in the lead up to Christmas, and retail watchers are alarmed by the high level of discounting that has continued into the new year. David Jones was bought by South African company Woolworths Holdings in 2014.
You know what your week has been missing? An update on the stalemate that is UK Theresa May's attempts to get the European Union to throw her a Brexit bone. She has been talking to EU leaders this week about getting some wriggle room on the Northern Irish backstop arrangement they had previously agreed. Nope, is the response - again. May says she believes if the EU would move on the issue she could get Brexit through the UK Parliament. If wishes were horses… Where to next? More talks…
AN APOLOGY AND MORE INVESTIGATING...
Federal government assistant minister Scott Buchholz joined the ranks of the behaving-badly-brigade yesterday after reports he had been forced to apologise following an incident in Darwin last year. The Queensland Coalition MP was on a military exchange program and, in his words, behaving "like an idiot". Seven News said an unsolicited hug of a RAAF member who had a gender equality role in the ADF was involved. She lodged a formal complaint, and he issued an immediate apology. Meanwhile, former Melbourne Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle found himself even deeper in the shtuk after police confirmed they have begun investigating a new series of assault allegations against the 65yo. In 2017, Doyle was accused of harassment by three female colleagues.
TWO NEW EMOJIS - FOR THE LADIES
Do you suffer from Facebook foot-in-mouth disease? Ever sent something on Messenger and regretted it? Help is at hand. Mark Zuckerberg – king of the world and overlord of us all – yesterday announced all Facebook users would have 10 minutes to delete anything they inadvertently (or advertently) posted to its messaging platform. The life-saving feature is available now on the newest version of the app (*updating app as we type*). Meanwhile, in breaking emoji news: the company that regulates the teeny-tiny cartoons that populate your text messages has announced some new additions. Please give a warm welcome to the ‘period emoji’ (and no, we’re not talking about punctuation) and the ‘pinching emoji’ - which if you look at carefully, is really one for the ladies as well. Insert eye-roll emoji...
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
The joy of sitting out a trend - let’s call it fashion JOMO. It’s something we’ve been doing for a while and will continue until going-out-tracksuit-pants come back into style…
Dan Mallory, the author of one of last year’s most successful novels The Woman in the Window under his pen name AJ Finn, claimed he’s had brain cancer. Not true, he reveals in this profile in The New Yorker. Who doesn’t like a good read on why some successful, smart people lie...
A Stephanie Alexander recipe for bubble and squeak. Could 2019 get any better?
SQUIZ THE DAY
11.30am (AEDT) - Reserve Bank Statement on Monetary Policy
An administrative court hearing in Victoria relating to harassment and assault charges against actor Craig McLachlan
Propose Day - India and Nepal
Royal Hobart Regatta (on until 11 February)
US National Pizza Day
Anniversary of the death of Princess Margaret, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II (2002)
Anniversary of The Beatles making their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show (1964)
World Pulses Day (think chickpeas, not heartbeats…)
Anniversary of Peter Allen’s birthday (1944)
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