Chairman's Message

Chairman's Message
The Group has delivered another good result for the year despite the uncertain and challenging economic environment. The result is attributable to the Group’s strong position and the continued focus on providing solid returns and dividends to our shareholders. The Group’s strategy and focus of serving our customers remains paramount. We continue to be conservative and at the same time sensitive to change in the external environment, while competing strongly in all the markets and segments we serve.

Ralph Norris’ Retirement

Ralph Norris has announced his intended retirement, effective at the end of
November 2011.

Under Ralph’s leadership, the culture of the Group has been transformed. He has developed a management team that is second to none.

The Group’s Total Shareholder Return has exceeded its peers’ in the past 5 years. Ralph’s key focus has been on customer satisfaction to drive performance and again, the improvements under Ralph’s leadership are tremendous.

We have won many prestigious banking awards and weathered the extraordinary pressures of the global financial crisis. Ralph’s focus on the Group’s performance, its prosperity and its customers, has been unswerving. It has resulted in the very strong position that we occupy today.

Working with the Board, Ralph has also been instrumental in ensuring that there was talent within the organisation to challenge for the CEO position when he felt he would retire.

On behalf the Board, thank you Ralph for being an outstanding chief executive who has made a real contribution not just to banking but to the Australian and New Zealand communities.

CEO Succession – Ian Narev

The Board has chosen Ian Narev as Ralph’s successor.

In considering Ian’s appointment, the Board was acutely aware that the challenges of the future will be very different to those encountered so far. The global environment is changing in almost every respect and technology will play a greater role in both customer service and competitive advantage. Strategic agility will be a key attribute of the CEO.

Ian’s background, which is described in this letter, reflects his strategic capability and his inclusive and effective leadership. He is a senior banker with an outstanding breadth of experience.

The Board, in making this selection, employed an external firm to carry out a full search for the best available talent around the world. This ensured that in making an internal appointment, we had benchmarked all our senior internal talent against the best outside the Group. It is the culmination of more than two years of ongoing assessment and coaching of our top management team.

We are very confident that Ian will build on the strong position of the Group and, supported by a high class team, will be an excellent leader of the Group.


The Group, with its well managed, diversified business model and strong and stable financial platform, is well positioned for the future with its prudent management and new leadership well able to meet the challenges of the changed banking landscape. While the operating environment continues to be a demanding one with uncertainties over major global economies and fragile domestic confidence, we remain confident about the Group’s ability to continue to deliver superior returns for our shareholders.

Finally, I would like to thank our customers and shareholders for their continuing support for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and of course all the staff of the Group on whom we depend for our success.


David Turner
10 AUGUST 2011