x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

NBAD names new chief executive

National Bank of Abu Dhabi has appointed a new chief executive, selecting the head of ANZ's international division to help the capital's biggest lender push into emerging markets.

Alex Thursby will succeed Michael Tomalin as the chief executive of National Bank of Abu Dhabi. Pichi Chuang / Reuters
Alex Thursby will succeed Michael Tomalin as the chief executive of National Bank of Abu Dhabi. Pichi Chuang / Reuters

National Bank of Abu Dhabi has named its new chief executive - a veteran British banker with decades of experience in the Asia-Pacific region - to steer its expansion into emerging markets.

The biggest bank in the capital, NBAD announced yesterday it had appointed Alex Thursby as chief executive. He will take charge from July 1.

Mr Thursby succeeds Michael Tomalin, another Briton, who has headed NBAD for the past 14 years as it became one of the biggest lenders in the region.

Annual profits fell during only one year of his leadership of the bank. Nasser Alsowaidi, NBAD's chairman, paid tribute to Mr Tomalin, who will remain on the board after stepping down.

"Under his leadership the group's earnings have multiplied over 10 times and the group's footprint, both at home and abroad, in private banking, asset management, capital markets and investment banking has greatly expanded."

Mr Thursby joins from ANZ, where he is the chief executive of the international and institutional banking division of Australia's third-biggest bank.

He was previously the chief executive of Standard Chartered's UAE operations and has held a number of positions in China, Indonesia and Singapore.

Mr Thursby will leave ANZ at the end of this month, said Mike Smith, ANZ's chief executive, who spoke highly of his accomplishments.

"Over the past six years Alex has played a leading role in implementing the group's super regional strategy," he said. "He has helped to transform ANZ, creating the foundation of a very significant business in Asia-Pacific."

NBAD is in the midst of a huge international expansion drive as it expands across fast-growing emerging markets.

The bank has set its sights on quadrupling its annual earnings to Dh16 billion (US$4.35bn) by 2021 by setting itself up as a trade bank for emerging markets between the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America, NBAD said at its shareholder meeting last year. The bank announced Mr Tomalin's plans to retire at that time.

NBAD opened offices in Shanghai and Malaysia last year. It has also hired a head for its Latin American operations, which are to be based in São Paolo.

The bank plans to open offices in Lebanon, South Sudan, Turkey, India, Iraq and South Korea in the next two years.