NAB boss and chairman both quit after damning Royal Commission

NAB interim CEO Phil Chronican the right man for the job, investors say

"Safe is probably not sufficient, they need someone who is very capable, and he is ... and he has the qualifications, the experience, and he would make a good CEO, albeit interim", Mr Le Mesurier told The Business.

National Australia Bank's chief executive officer, Andrew Thorburn, and chairman, Ken Henry, have announced they will quit the bank after their leadership was criticised by the royal commission.

The royal commission's final report on Monday singled out Thorburn and Henry, saying they had not learned the lessons from past misconduct in NAB's wealth management arm.

However, Hayne said he was "not persuaded that NAB is willing to accept the necessary responsibility for deciding, for itself, what is the right thing to do, and then having its staff act accordingly".

Rees said he had a "different view" of Henry, labelling him "extraordinarily well-credentialed" and criticism of him "unfair".

Thorburn will finish up at the end of the month with current NAB director Philip Chronican to take over as acting chief executive until a permanent appointment was made.

The board will search internationally for a CEO while also considering internal candidates, the statement said.

"If they really want to show they are serious about this I have taken cases to the banks that can be acted upon", he said.

"I have had a number of conversations with the Chairman this week".

Mr Thorburn said he had "always acted with integrity" and in the best interests of the bank and customers.

'However, I recognise there is a desire for change.

Thorburn said he had offered to step down and the board had accepted.

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"I have devoted myself to serve NAB and my hope and ambition is that the bank can move forward and achieve its vision of being trusted by customers for exceptional service".

Dr Henry said on Thursday that he had "relived that performance many times", he was "quite upset" about it, but he believed this was not the main reason for commissioner Kenneth Hayne's remarks.

It said customer remediation programs and regulatory compliance investigations continue to add to costs, although amounts and timing were "uncertain".

"This is naturally a hard decision but I believe the Board should have the opportunity to appoint a new Chair for the next period as NAB seeks to reset its culture and ensure all decisions are made on behalf of customers".

Henry said he was "enormously proud of what the bank has achieved" but "equally disappointed" by instances in which it had failed customers. Andrew and I are deeply sorry for this.

Although Henry insisted the decision was "not made in reaction to any specific event", in a teleconference after the announcement Thorburn conceded it was those observations by Hayne that had "caused the discussions this week" leading to their resignations.

Hayne's criticism of NAB was searing.

It is understood many in the bank would be happy to see ex-NAB executive and now Medibank boss Craig Drummond return to 700 Bourke St, while Mr Chronican in the long term is picked as the most likely successor to Dr Henry.

As Dr Henry admitted on ABC TV's 7.30, the bank has "got an absolute mountain to climb". The more I thought about it - and I can't tell you how many times I've relived that appearance - I understand the criticism.

Asked about the scandal, Mr Thorburn said the bank had co-operated with the police and that his pay was cut previous year in response, adding "no one in the bank, including myself, is being investigated" by the NSW police.

Analysts and commentators quickly concluded that Henry and Thorburn appeared to be in an untenable position.

Buried under the drama of the leadership spill was a trading update which indicates tough times are ahead for the bank and its investors.

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