BOQ decides to go Allaway with Interim CEO

It’s been 18 weeks since the Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ) surprised with the news late last November that it and high-profile CEO George Frazis were parting ways.

Mr Frazis’s departure came after only three years in the job and midway through a $1.3 billion merger with ME Bank.

Media reports said the departure came after investor concerns were raised about a rapid turnover in the ranks of executives below Mr Frazis.

As well, then chair Patrick Allaway had publicly rebuked his CEO’s behaviour in March of last year over perceived issues such as extravagant expenses.

The news saw the shares slide and Frazis’ departure was so sudden that chair Patrick Allaway had to step in as the temporary CEO.

And that same man was announced on Monday as the new full-time CEO, taking the role after an extensive search failed to find a replacement.

But he will only hold the position until the end of 2024 as the bank continues its search for a new longer-term boss.

Allaway is stepping down from the chairman’s role and will be replaced by long-time director Warwick Negus.

That means Allaway will front the BOQ’s first half results on April 20 and has promised an update on its strategic priorities and associated investment as part of its results release.

“Allaway’s appointment will provide stability and continuity during this period, enabling the management team to continue delivering the company’s priorities,” the Brisbane-based regional bank said in an exchange filing on Monday.

“The search process for a long-term CEO will continue to allow further time for consideration of a wider pool of external candidates and the further development of internal candidates,” Bank of Queensland said in Monday’s announcement.

“I am honoured to serve BOQ stakeholders in my new role and to play a part in our 150-year history. I will continue to lead by living our purpose and values and to progress our work to build an even stronger and better bank for our customers, our people, and our shareholders,” Allaway said on Monday.

“Our focus is strong financial resilience whilst simplifying our operations and digitising for our future state. We have made material progress in strengthening our capital and liquidity position over the past six months and have maintained quality lending portfolios as we prepare for a more challenging economic environment.

“BOQ has several programs underway to improve the effectiveness of our control environment and organisational efficiency, building a leaner more agile and digitally enabled bank.”

The shares ended Monday steady on $6.40.

Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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