No not her love affair with Paediatrician husband of 37 years to whom she has had four children.
Their loving relationship is still very much intact.
Gail Kelly announcing her intended retirement in February 2015
Yes she has had a long-standing extra-marital affair. One husband Alan is happy to accept, and one to which she is happy to confess.
It has been the secret to her enduring success as head of Australia’s oldest and second largest bank Westpac.
“I love this Bank. I love the customers. I love the staff”.
She has rejected advice to toughen up and bark the orders. She is a facilitator, assisting her staff realize their goals. She is an educator, her mantra: do what you love, and love what you are doing.
Management flexibility and worker accountability are inextricably linked to meet Bank goals.
What now for Gail?
After five years as head of the St George Bank, and seven years as Westpac’s CEO, she is at the pinnacle of a distinguished career which started in South Africa as a Latin teacher. She is still only 58 years old, and is the mother of four including triplets, now 25. Ask Alan about ‘Life after Work’ for Gail, and he may express his wish to have her more at home, to cut the lawn, and to iron his shirts.
A forlorn wish on his part I fear.
It may have been the right time for her to leave Westpac after successfully guiding it through mergers with the St George Bank, and the Savings Bank of South Australia, and more onerously through the Global Financial Crisis, but she is still arguably at her productive best. A smart decision perhaps. The Bank has never been so profitable, and her reputation as yet unsullied. The Bank’s needs will be met by the implementation of her strong replacement plan. And she is young enough to tackle a new project!
Undoubtedly there will be many calls for her services. Corporate again? Or more likely a role in the public domain? Who knows who will come knocking on her door? Perhaps she will be head-hunted for another challenge. Might she be instrumental in creating a fifth pillar of Australian Banking?
How good a CEO was Gail Kelly?
Share-holders will judge her tenure by the returns she has achieved. To justify this post I will include a 10 year monthly chart of the share-price.
The pre-GFC high for WBC share-price has now been exceeded, and is consolidating with support at $31.
Momentum however has levelled off, and it may be entering into a trading range.
The long-term averages are widely spaced and still rising, suggesting Westpac is still a suitable investment.