ANZ CEO Leaves on Note of Caution
The outgoing CEO of ANZ Royal Bank is leaving with a note of caution about the swift growth of lending in Cambodia, while noting that the banking sector had become much more competitive and technologically advanced during his four-year tenure at the helm of one of the country’s largest lenders.
“The extreme growth of credit over the time is the factor that has created some level of risk in the system, but I also believe the NBC [National Bank of Cambodia] has become increasingly active in putting measures in place to manage and mitigate that risk,” Grant Knuckey told Khmer Times yesterday.
“The other main risk for the sector is providing the right talent pipeline to support this growth. Much work is still to be done in the area of industry-level technical training, but the direction is positive,” Mr. Knuckey added.
Cambodia saw credit growth of about 28 percent among banks and microfinance institutions last year, while deposit growth was 18.9 percent, according to the annual report from NBC. The report said credit expanded 61.62 trillion riel (about $15 billion), and deposits rose 51.61 trillion riel ($12.6 billion).
Mr. Knuckey will complete his job today and become CEO for ANZ in Japan next month.
He said yesterday that during his four years in Cambodia the banking sector, and ANZ Royal, had changed significantly. “The sector has become far more competitive over that time, and levels of technology innovation in particular have been noticeable.”
He will be replaced by Leonie Lethbridge. Ms. Lethbridge has been based in Shanghai, serving as regional chief operating officer for ANZ, the bank said in a statement.
Mr. Knuckey was appointed to be CEO for ANZ Royal in May 2012. That role included management oversight of the bank’s Laos and Myanmar businesses. Prior to joining ANZ Royal, he ran the bank’s institutional business in China from Shanghai. He had been with ANZ for more than 20 years before coming to Cambodia.
“In his new role, Grant will be responsible for driving client relationships from Japan into ANZ’s home markets of Australia and New Zealand as well as across [the] Asia Pacific, in line with increasing Japanese foreign investment in the region,” ANZ group executive international Farhan Faruqui said in a statement.
Ms. Lethbridge has been responsible for Asian markets, including Cambodia. Prior to moving to Shanghai, she was chief operating officer for ANZ Indonesia. Since joining ANZ in 2002, she has held senior roles across risk, operations and strategy, the announcement said.
She also acts as an external representative for ANZ’s Asia business through her work with Australian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and the Australia-Indonesia Centre.
As of the end of last year, there were 36 commercial banks in Cambodia, 11 specialized banks, eight bank representative offices, and 50 microfinance institutions, of which eight were permitted to accept deposits.
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