Mike Baird has defended his decision to take a $1 million-plus job with NAB
Mike Baird has defended his decision to take a $1 million-plus job with NAB News Corp Australia

Mike Baird defends new $1m job at NAB

FORMER premier Mike Baird has defended his decision to take a job with National Australia Bank - just six weeks after retiring from politics, saying he needed more time with his family.

He is expected to earn just over a million dollars a year plus performance-related bonuses - a considerable rise on the $358,000 a year he earned as premier.

Mr Baird resigned as premier on January 19, citing the ill-health of his father and sister and telling reporters: "At times I have been in pain at not being able to spend the time that I should … this will change today."

NAB approached Mr Baird two days after he resigned, along with a series of other potential new employers keen to snap up the former investment banker.

NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn unveiled Mr Baird as his bank's new chief customer officer, corporate and institutional banking this morning.

He will not formally start the role until mid-April.

"It remains incredibly important to me - time with the family," Mr Baird said on Tuesday morning.

"It's coming up to six weeks since I resigned. In that six weeks I think the sad reality is that I've spent more time with my family in that six weeks, directly one-on-one, that quality time, than I have almost in the past few years.

"Part of the discussions that I've had with Andrew is that I'm not ready to start yet.

"The next six weeks of my life, in many respects, may well be the best six weeks because I've got surety because there is a job. That's important post the 2007 changes to MPs. Obviously I will need employment."

Under existing rules, former MPs who were elected after 2007 - like Mr Baird - receive no additional superannuation than the standard 9.5 per cent employer contribution.

Mr Baird worked in banking for 17 years prior to his political career, starting at NAB in 1989 before moving to Deutsche Bank and HSBC.

Mr Thorburn said Mr Baird will bring valuable experience to the bank. He will continue to be based in Sydney.

"I had known Mike from years gone by and I think at various times we'd spoken at conferences and I joked and said when Mike's ready to leave politics I wanted him to phone me to talk about an opportunity," Mr Thorburn said.

"As soon as I heard (he'd resigned), I phoned him. I was a wee bit slow - I didn't get to him until Saturday and he'd already had four other people knocking on his door."

NAB also announced the appointment of Patrick Wright as chief technology and operations officer and Sharon Cook as chief legal and commercial counsel on Tuesday morning.