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Rabobank Australia & New Zealand appoints new chairman

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article image William P. Gurry

Rabobank  Australia & New Zealand has announced the appointment of William P. Gurry as chairman of its board of directors.

Mr Gurry replaces outgoing chairman James Graham, who has served in this role since November 2002 and has been a board member since May 2001.

Mr Gurry takes over chairmanship of the boards of Rabobank’s major operating entities – Rabobank Australia Limited, Rabo Australia Limited and Rabobank New Zealand Limited – effective March 31, 2009.

The world’s leading food and agribusiness bank, Rabobank is one of Australasia’s largest rural lenders and a major provider of corporate and business banking services to the region’s food and agribusiness sector.

Announcing the appointment, chairman of the Managing Board of Rabobank International Bert Heemskerk said Mr Gurry – who has served as a Rabobank board member since March 2005 – was extremely well credentialled to take on the role of Rabobank Australia & New Zealand chairman.

“Bill Gurry is a highly-respected business leader and an experienced company director. He has an extensive background in banking and food retailing and strong rural interests,” Mr Heemskerk said. “During his time on the Rabobank board, Bill has distinguished himself as a director of the highest calibre."

Mr Gurry has enjoyed a lengthy and eminent career in business, holding a number of senior roles in the financial services industry. He is a former executive chairman of UBS in Australia and was CEO of its forerunner Potter Warburg. He also served as managing director of National Mutual Royal Bank.

Mr Gurry is currently chairman of wine company Cheviot Bridge and a director of the Financial Markets Foundation for Children and St. Vincent’s & Mercy Private Hospital. He is a past chairman of Ericsson Australia and has held directorships with a number of companies, including Coles Limited. Bill Gurry was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1996 in recognition of services to the finance and banking professions, the arts and the community.

Mr Heemskerk praised the outstanding contribution made by outgoing chairman James Graham during his time on the Rabobank Australia & New Zealand board.

Mr Graham, who is managing director of Gresham Partners Limited and sits on a number of boards including Wesfarmers and Lumley General Insurance, will also resign as director of the Rabobank boards effective 31 March 2009.

“James Graham has presided over Rabobank during a time of immense growth for the business in Australia and New Zealand. During his tenure with the board, the bank has grown to become one of the leading agribusiness lenders on both sides of the Tasman, with an impressive portfolio of clients who are among the top farmers and agribusiness operators in Australasia,” he said.

“The bank has been fortunate to benefit from James’ strong and decisive leadership and his vision and foresight. He has been an extremely diligent chairman, who has been highly respected by not just the management team, but the bank employees and the wider business community during his many years at the helm of our board in Australia and New Zealand."

Mr Graham was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2008 in recognition of his services to business and the community.

Mr Graham said: “Rabobank enjoys an outstanding reputation with all elements of the community and it has been a great privilege to be part of its development in Australia and New Zealand over these past eight years. I am certain that the bank is well positioned to continue to extend its contribution to the profitable support of businesses in the food and agribusiness markets and beyond over the years ahead under the chairmanship of Bill Gurry”.

Mr Gurry said he was “very proud to take on the stewardship of such a strong, fine institution”.

“While there are undoubtedly challenges for all of us in these difficult times, I believe Rabobank is extremely well placed in the Australian and New Zealand market,” he said. “Our core market, which is the agricultural and agribusiness sectors in both countries, has very strong fundamentals for future growth and development and Rabobank is committed to continuing to partner them into the future.”

The other Rabobank Australia & New Zealand’s directors are:

  • Erich Fraunschiel
  • John Palmer
  • David Smithers
  • Hans ten Cate
  • Rob ten Heggeler
  • Rabobank Australia & New Zealand CEO Bruce Dick
  • Rabobank Australia & New Zealand deputy CEO Ruurd Weulen Kranenberg and
  • alternate director Harry de Roo.

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