National Australia Bank CEO Cameron Clyne is retiring from executive life at the age of 46 to spend more time with his wife and children.
National Australia Bank boss Cameron Clyne is walking away from a multi million dollar paypacket in the name of marital bliss.
The 46-year-old caught the market by surprise by announcing he will leave the bank and retire from executive life on July 31.
After five and a half years as chief executive, Mr Clyne will forgo a lucrative pay packet that has seen him take home cash and shares worth as much as $8.8 million in one year.
He will be replaced by Andrew Thorburn, who has headed NAB's Bank of New Zealand since 2008.
Mr Clyne said his stint as CEO had taken a personal toll, and he wanted to spend more time with his wife and two children.
"Id like to be married longer than I am CEO. It's not a done deal yet, but this is helping," he said.
"A lot of people talk about work-life balance.
"This is what it looks like when you prioritise your family over your career."
Mr Clyne said he had no plans to join other boards at this stage, and his current retirement plans include attending the Rugby World Cup and Ashes series in the UK in 2015.
He first talked about retirement with NAB's board late in 2013.
With chairman Michael Chaney to retire towards the end of 2015, the timing was right.
While Mr Clyne's departure was unexpected, Morningstar analyst David Ellis said he did not believe the CEO had faced pressure from the board to leave.
NAB had dragged behind its main competitors Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, and Westpac in recent years, but Mr Clyne had managed to "right the ship" in the wake of the global financial crisis and problems with its UK operations, Mr Ellis said.
"I believe him when he says he wants to spend more time with his family," he said.
"Obviously that is often code for something else, but I think in this case he has done a good job in the five years he's been in the role."
Mr Chaney said Mr Clyne had led significant cultural and structural change during his time as CEO.
"He is highly regarded throughout the bank and externally, and we are sorry to see him leave at this time," he said.
Mr Thorburn will take over as chief executive on August 1, and said he would focus his attention on improving the company's market-leading business banking division.
"From small business, right through to institutional, this has been a key business for us for decades and will continue to be," Mr Thorburn said.
NAB shares were down 16 cents, or 0.45 per cent, at $35.40 at 1530 AEDT.