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ANZ Asia executive announcement imminent

ANZ Asia executive announcement imminent

(29 May 2013 – Asia) An announcement is expected in the coming weeks from ANZ on who will take over as head of the bank’s critical Asian and international arm.

Previous Asia boss Alex Thursby resigned this month to become Head of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. Analysts are tipping an external candidate to replace Thursby and continue ANZ’s aggressive expansion into Asia.

Given ANZ's heavy emphasis on Asia, analysts say whoever gets the job will also be seen as a potential next Chief Executive of the entire group.

ANZ Chief Executive Mike Smith, who previously ran the Asian arm of global bank HSBC, has signalled he intends to stay on for another two to three years.

While the bank has considered internal candidates to replace Thursby, an outsider from a large Western bank with a heavy Asian presence, such as Standard Chartered Bank or HSBC, is seen as more likely.

Smith has also fuelled expectations of an external appointment by saying ANZ might ''poach'' a banker and describing himself and Thursby, a former Standard Chartered banker, as ''Asian insiders''.

Three weeks ago Smith also said he hoped to announce the appointment in ''a few weeks' time''.

The executives filling Thursby's role, Head of Asia Gilles Plante and markets boss Steve Bellotti, are also well regarded in the market.

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