SBS Bank chief executive Ross Smith started in his role
in 1992, telling his wife the position would be for three to
He will retire as chief executive at the end of July after 22
years at the helm of the bank he helped expand from the
Southland Building Society into a registered bank with nearly
20 branches throughout the country.
Mr Smith had spent three years with the United Building
Society, in Christchurch, which became the United Bank. SBS
recruited him after the failed sale of the society to
Mr Smith, the Otago Daily Times Southern Business
Leader in 2011, has been the longest-serving chief executive
of any New Zealand bank, SBS chairman John Ward said.
''Mr Smith's decision to retire will bring to a close a
remarkable career of 22 years of continous service to the
business and its customers. Ross has been an invaluable
member of the SBS team. He has successfully managed the
entity through challenging times and market transitions.''
Mr Smith said it would be difficult to leave but he was
confident the timing was right to retire.
''I've been privileged to lead the first building society in
the world to become a registered bank and after 20-something
years, it's time to move on and transfer SBS Bank's helm to a
new generation of leadership.''
Included in his proudest achievements were: the launch of
subsidiary companies Finance Now, Southsure Assurance and
Funds Administration; gaining bank registration; and the
successful merger with the Hastings Building Society, now HBS
The board was currently in the process of recruiting his
replacement, Mr Ward said.