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Exit of ANZ Royal CEO unexplained

ANZ Royal Bank chief executive Damian Bell has resigned from the post he held for not much more than a month, a company spokeswoman confirmed yesterday.

He resigned “several weeks ago”, Libby Armstrong, a Hong Kong-based ANZ spokeswoman, said by phone.

No explanation was offered for the unannounced end to Bell’s multiweek tenure.

Bell took the position in February after serving as CEO for ANZ Laos, replacing former ANZ Royal head Stephen Higgins.

Higgins had run the bank since 2008.

At the time, Higgins said the leadership change was routine.

“It’s part of a regular cycle of CEOs,” he told the Post, noting that regional positions often lasted three to four years.

ANZ Royal is a joint venture between Cambodia’s Royal Group of Companies and the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, with ANZ controlling a 55 per cent majority stake.

A new CEO has yet to be appointed, but ANZ deputy CEO for Asia Pacific, Europe and America Alistair Bulloch is standing in during the interim, according to the spokeswoman.

“We will hopefully announce the appointment of someone to the position soon,” Armstrong said.

The spokeswoman and other ANZ Royal officials declined to say why Bell resigned after such a brief stint in the position.

When contacted yesterday, Royal Group chairman Kith Meng said the move was “part of our company strategy”, before saying he was in a meeting and hanging up.

Bell could not be reached yesterday for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Don Weinland at don.weinland@phnompenhpost.com

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