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ANZ appoints former Lloyds boss to take on Asia

ANZ’s (ASX: ANZ) ‘Super Regional Strategy’ is set to get an injection of knowledge from its new boss Andrew Geczy.

After months of trolling the world for candidates ANZ has appointed Mr Geczy, a former Lloyds boss, to the role ahead of internal candidates Gilles Plante and Steve Bellotti. Plante and Bellotti were acting as co-heads of the division since Alex Thursby left the position in April for the top job at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

Chief executive Mike Smith said, “Andrew provides a significant addition to ANZ’s management bench strength”. After founding Manresa Partners in 2005, Mr Geczy was appointed chief of Lloyd’s wholesale banking and markets business in 2009.

Mr Geczy will have to deal with slowing Asian growth, particularly from China, as well as new regulations on banks with overseas investments. It is increasingly likely that ANZ will seek to accelerate its wholly owned subsidiaries in Asia rather than keep its minority stakes in existing businesses. This contrasts  National Australia Bank’s (ASX: NAB) strategy of taking advantage of trade flows to-and-from Asia.

ANZ’s Asian presence is growing fast and accounts for around one fifth of the group’s revenue. It was previously speculated that the candidate who filled the role could leap frog existing staff into the group’s top job as CEO. Mr Smith has hinted that he may step down as soon as 2015.

Foolish takeaway

Shareholders and investors were growing concerned with ANZ’s inability to secure a top level manager for Asia. Mr Geczy brings a wealth a knowledge to the position and could help the business stamp its foot print in Asia’s booming economies.

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Motley Fool contributor Owen Raszkiewicz owns shares in ANZ.

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