Fresh from a three-month break in Europe and his 60th birthday celebrations over the weekend, Smith is turning his attention back to Asia in his latest “ambassadorial” role advising
Smith’s successor, Shayne Elliott, is reining in ANZ’s investment in Asia although the bank says it is not back tracking. While his critics will point to Smith’s Asia strategy as a reason why he should not be advising companies on doing business in Asia, Smith shrugs off that kind of commentary as “uninformed” and that it was always an investment that played to the medium to long term. “We are oppressed by this social sound bite these days where next Thursday is long term. If you think like that you are going to come a cropper….
Smith believes Australian companies are in danger of missing the boat in Asia because they are more comfortable in the English-speaking market and see the region as too risky.
“It is not a question of should I get closer to Asia. The question the boards should be asking themselves is can they afford not to?”