Outstanding Māori Business Leaders Award 2010

For outstanding business leadership and service to community and private sector banking nationally and internationally.


Sir Ralph Norris, KNZM

Ngāti Hine

Mr Norris joined the Commonwealth Bank as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer on 23 September 2005.

He started his working career with Mobil Oil New Zealand in 1967, before joining the Auckland Savings Bank (ASB) in 1969, which subsequently became a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. He was appointed Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ASB Bank in 1991, retiring from that position in September 2001.

He joined Air New Zealand Limited as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer in February 2002, having served on the company’s Board of Directors for three years. Mr Norris left Air New Zealand to take up his appointment as CEO at the Commonwealth Bank.

During his tenure as Chief Executive Officer of ASB, it expanded nationally, grew its profitability six-fold and increased market share by 60% whilst being consistently rated the best financial services provider in New Zealand.

Mr Norris was credited with leading a turnaround at Air New Zealand by returning the company to profitability and introducing a more customer-focussed culture, for which he was honoured with New Zealand’s Executive of the Year Award in 2004. He was previously New Zealand’s Executive of the Year in his role at ASB Bank.

Mr Norris is Chairman of the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) and a Director of the Business Council of Australia.

Mr Norris was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business in 2006. He is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Management, the New Zealand Computer Society, the Australian Institute of Management and is Chair of the Commonwealth Bank Foundation.

He is former Chairman of the New Zealand Bankers’ Association and Business Roundtable.

Mr Norris was born in Auckland and educated at Lynfield College and is married with three adult children and three grandchildren.

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