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Sam Knowles to resign as Kiwibank chief executive

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, May 26 NZPA - Kiwibank chief executive Sam Knowles is to leave the job after 10 years involvement in setting up and then leading the state-owned company.

No date had been set for his departure, and Mr Knowles was prepared to stay until a replacement was found, Kiwibank said today.

Kiwibank chairman Jim Bolger said Mr Knowles' resignation was a huge loss for Kiwibank.

Mr Knowles had set up a strong, robust company, and his impact on the New Zealand banking industry had been immense, Mr Bolger said.

"Sam worked through the proposal to establish a New Zealand-owned bank and then took up the position of chief executive and successfully launched Kiwibank in 2002."

"Since then the bank has become a major banking competitor attracting 700,000 customers and winning numerous awards for value, innovation and brand values."

Mr Knowles said his time as chief executive had been memorable and he now wanted to take a break and consider the future.

Customers had shown "fierce loyalty", clearly sharing "the dream of a New Zealand-owned bank for New Zealanders".

Brian Roche, chief executive of Kiwibank-owner New Zealand Post, said an internal and external search would start immediately to find Mr Knowles' replacement.

Kiwibank's future received attention in recent days after Finance Minister Bill English was questioned at a meeting about the possibility of the Government changing its policy and selling state-owned assets.

Kiwibank was mentioned, and Mr English said he thought "mum and dad investors" would be keen to buy shares if it was put on the market.

Since then Prime Minister John Key said the Government was a long way from making any decisions about changing its position, and if it did voters would be told about it before the next election.

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