Top executives on the move

EDITORIAL

Two of New Zealand’s top corporate executives resigned last week in contrasting circumstances, leaving doubts as to whether there was more than the public was being told.

That was certainly true of ANZ chief executive David Hisco, who stepped down from his role at New Zealand’s biggest bank after an internal audit into his expenses spending — which included $50,000 for wine storage, without proper disclosures, and chauffeur-driven limousines for personal activity.

The interesting thing is the way ANZ tried what many believe was a cover-up. In May the company announced that Hisco was taking leave because of ill health, but the internal review had already started.

ANZ had the perfect man to weather this storm in former prime minister Sir John Key, who heads its board. It was a major test even for “Teflon John”, though, who was a friend of Hisco and sold him a house.

Hisco was a successful boss for ANZ New Zealand, the annual profit of which rose to $2 billion during his eight years in charge. That makes it all the more surprising that the country’s highest paid CEO should be brought down in this way, forfeiting rights to $6.4 million in ANZ equity earned over his career.

It is a different story for Christopher Luxon, who took Air New Zealand to its highest profit ever two years ago. The 49-year-old, who heads the Government’s Business Advisory Council, has said he is considering standing for National as he would like to use his skills, abilities and experience to make a further contribution to the success of New Zealand.

Probably the quirkiest story last week was the news that Israel Folau had opened a GoFundMe page seeking contributions to his legal battle with the Australian Rugby Board, after his sacking over anti-gay social media posts.

Folau is a multi-millionaire but there are estimates his legal costs could reach $3 million if the case goes all the way to the Australian High Court.

Despite scathing criticism from former Wallaby team mates and media commentators, Folau’s fund had already reached $NZ640,000 yesterday — with more than 8500 people donating.

Two of New Zealand’s top corporate executives resigned last week in contrasting circumstances, leaving doubts as to whether there was more than the public was being told.

That was certainly true of ANZ chief executive David Hisco, who stepped down from his role at New Zealand’s biggest bank after an internal audit into his expenses spending — which included $50,000 for wine storage, without proper disclosures, and chauffeur-driven limousines for personal activity.

The interesting thing is the way ANZ tried what many believe was a cover-up. In May the company announced that Hisco was taking leave because of ill health, but the internal review had already started.

ANZ had the perfect man to weather this storm in former prime minister Sir John Key, who heads its board. It was a major test even for “Teflon John”, though, who was a friend of Hisco and sold him a house.

Hisco was a successful boss for ANZ New Zealand, the annual profit of which rose to $2 billion during his eight years in charge. That makes it all the more surprising that the country’s highest paid CEO should be brought down in this way, forfeiting rights to $6.4 million in ANZ equity earned over his career.

It is a different story for Christopher Luxon, who took Air New Zealand to its highest profit ever two years ago. The 49-year-old, who heads the Government’s Business Advisory Council, has said he is considering standing for National as he would like to use his skills, abilities and experience to make a further contribution to the success of New Zealand.

Probably the quirkiest story last week was the news that Israel Folau had opened a GoFundMe page seeking contributions to his legal battle with the Australian Rugby Board, after his sacking over anti-gay social media posts.

Folau is a multi-millionaire but there are estimates his legal costs could reach $3 million if the case goes all the way to the Australian High Court.

Despite scathing criticism from former Wallaby team mates and media commentators, Folau’s fund had already reached $NZ640,000 yesterday — with more than 8500 people donating.

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Phil Hunt, Picton - 3 months ago
I would expect Adrian Orr of the Reserve Bank to step into this ANZ fiasco!
He was talking tough to the banks a couple of months ago, let's see his metal!
I understand John Key has only been chairman for a short time, but that does not excuse him not knowing something! As the review, apparently, was already running when Mr Hisco stood down, Key would have been privy to the background. If Mr Hisco thinks he is going to walk away unscathed, he had better think again! It will have tarnished his chances of other top roles I guess. We'll just have to see where all this goes. It does ask questions of the whole overseas-owned banking set-up in New Zealand. I hope that this will be thoroughly investigated, so that we can be sure everything is above board. Meanwhile ANZ customers/shareholders, the remedy is in your hands!

Phil Hunt - 3 months ago
I see Mr Luxon is held up as a shining light in world aviation circles and in New Zealand business! Not so in my book. Air NZ Link has cut many regional services in recent times. No Blenheim to Christchurch in my area as an example. That route has been taken up by our local airline. Next I rang Air NZ to get some quotes on the Auckland - Perth route flying direct. I was quoted $1244! As I said to the girl who was helping me "I can go to London for $1,649 with Air NZ!" Kiwis who live and work in Perth are mostly on very good wages, so when they want to fly home they most probably can afford it, but those who live in NZ on lower incomes are stuck if they want to go direct. I have since found a fare half that price with another very well-known airline, but if I want to use the airline we all partially own I'm locked out. Well done, I don't think Mr Luxon and Air NZ!

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