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Eric Johnston
May 4, 2009 – 12:39PM

A keen user of technology, ANZ’s Australian boss Brian Hartzer this morning used his Twitter internet site to tell staff his resignation from the bank.

”Folks this is my last tweet as I’ve resigned to pursue an overseas opportunity. Thanks for your continued support for ANZ,” Mr Hartzer said to his 383 followers in update known as a ”Tweet”.

The 42 year old was not specific about his plans. No further details were immediately available.

The exit of Mr Hartzer represents a major setback for ANZ chief executive Mike Smith who had been happy to focus on building the bank’s Asian ambitions while allowing the well-regarded executive run the bank’s Australian retail business.

The move also took the bank by surprise given it had scheduled investor meetings with Mr Hartzer as recently as last week.

ANZ confirmed the exit of Mr Hartzer this morning in a statement saying he was leaving to pursue a career in international banking.

The bank has appointed the head of the bank’s New Zealand business Graham Hodges to step in to Mr Hartzer’s role in an acting capacity while the bank seeks a full time replacement.

Mr Smith said Mr Hartzer had transformed ANZ into a retail banking force in Australia with leading levels of customer satisfaction and staff engagement, and a reinvigorated brand.

Mr Hartzer was one of the front-runners to be appointed chief executive officer of ANZ in late 2007, but was passed over for Mr Smith – a top ranked HSBC executive.

The US-born, Mr Hartzer was first appointed at the head of ANZ’s retail business in May 2004. There he was known for delivering fast growth in profits as he overhauled the bank’s customer service to make it more friendly to customers.

He has been with the bank since 1996, following a stint as a management consultant with First Manhattan.

In other tweets, Mr Hartzer outlined the demands executive life, expressing “relief” after the bank delivered its interim results last week.

On April 23 he posted an entry ”Juggling day today. Email, family/kids, GFC!. Wish the weather were better’!”


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