National Australia Bank Halted Pending Leadership Changes

(Bloomberg) -- National Australia Bank Ltd. shares were halted from trading pending an announcement on leadership changes.

The announcement, expected later Thursday, comes amid speculation Chief Executive Officer Andrew Thorburn and Chairman Ken Henry may be ousted after being sharply criticized by the financial industry misconduct inquiry, which questioned whether they were capable of leading the lender’s response to a series of scandals.

National Australia Bank Halted Pending Leadership Changes

The inquiry heard National Australia employees accepted cash bribes to approve fraudulent mortgages in order to “smash” sales targets. The Melbourne-based lender was also found to have charged fees for services that weren’t provided and downplaying the extent of the wrongdoing to avoid a regulatory report overshadowing its earnings release.

In his final report released Monday Commissioner Kenneth Hayne questioned whether National Australia is “willing to accept the necessary responsibility for deciding, for itself, what is the right thing to do,” and berated Thorburn and Henry for their performance in the witness box.

“Having heard from both, I am not as confident as I would wish to be that the lessons of the past have been learned,’’ he wrote.

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