Is Mike Baird qualified for NAB executive job?

With the recent news that former MP Mike Baird has been appointed to a top role at NAB, Mozo took a look at Baird’s career to date and his credentials for taking on the role.

Baird announced his retirement from politics in January, just a few months short of what would have been his 10-year anniversary in the NSW Parliament and following a politically tumultuous 2016. He cited a need to “refresh” the government and a desire to spend more time with his family - a number of whom have recently suffered bad health - among the reasons for his shock decision to retire.

Baird said at the time that he would be working again, since MP pensions were scaled back in 2007. Now, Baird has accepted one of many positions offered to him shortly after his resignation from politics, and is set to join NAB as Chief Customer Officer of Corporate and Institutional Banking.

Based on known NAB salaries, Baird will likely receive more than $2 million in his new role, and taking into account bonuses, superannuation and shares, it could balloon to twice that figure.

So is he qualified for the top job in one of Australia’s four major banks? NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn certainly thinks so, saying, “His time as treasurer and premier of New South Wales means he returns to banking and NAB with invaluable experience in leading economic and financial reform to grow the economy.”

Here's a rundown of Baird’s credentials so you can decide for yourself:

  • He graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) and also completed courses at Harvard and Duke University in executive management.
  • In some sense, the new job represents Baird’s career coming full circle - he began his career with NAB in 1989, as a graduate working at the St. Ives branch, before moving into corporate banking.
  • Before entering politics, he spent 17 years working in senior corporate and institutional banking roles both in Australia and overseas.
  • Highlights of his banking resume include a corporate finance position with Deutsche Bank, a role as Head of Corporate and Institutional Banking with HSBC in Australia and New Zealand and as Global Relationship Manager and Head of Debt Capital Markets Originations for NAB.
  • Entered state politics in 2007 and served as Treasurer from 2011-2014. He then became Premier, until his retirement earlier this year.
  • Notable moments in his political career include the introduction of Sydney’s unpopular lockout laws, a failed bid to end greyhound racing in NSW and the selling off of half of Ausgrid to Aussie companies IFM Investors and AustralianSuper $16 billion. The sale enabled Australia to pay off $10 billion in debt.

According to Thorburn, "Mike has outstanding leadership and a determination to drive change and make a difference by building relationships with customers and the community."

Australia will have to wait to see if Baird is up to the job, since he won’t be starting in his new position until mid-April. Until then, he has said he’ll be spending time with his family.