JOHN VANSELOW’S RECOLLECTIONS OF HIS TIME WITH CHARLES RENNIE
This is a transcript of John Vanselow’s presentation of his time with his great friend and mentor Charles Rennie:
“Charles joined the Union Bank in Melbourne 20th December 1928.
Very early in his career Charles was singled out by his ability and pleasing manner and moved up through postings in Vic and Tas Branches and extended period in GMO until enlistment in RAAF in 1942. He was a flying officer under the Empire Training Scheme in Canada. Demobilised in 1945.
In 1953 he was selected to be the first member of ANZ Staff to attend the Administrative Staff College at Henley-on- Thames.
In 1956 he was selected as Manager of the Olympic Village Branch where he had the pleasure of meeting many sporting people from around the world including those associated with his interests in rowing and swimming.
It was during the final months before Sir Roger Darvall’s retirement and following Charles’s appointment Sept 1967, when in a position titled Secretary to GM I had the pleasure of serving two creative, dedicated and personable General Managers. . Their banking abilities were widely recognised throughout the industry and business circles as were their human relations qualities.
I experienced Charles’s friendly easy manner in many ways...
Shortly following Charles’s appointment a small gathering of business customers was held in the ante-room. I had arranged drinks and hors d’oeuvres. On arrival the guests were introduced all round and as usual I returned to my office until conclusion of the function. Soon after Charles came into my office and invited me to join them. After the guests departed I proceeded to gather dishes, glasses etc to wash and put away. Charles came into the kitchen and said “You wash and I wipe. I hate washing.”
Another occasion during a visit by the Chairman Lord Carrington a dinner function was held at the Chevron Hotel St Kilda Road. During the evening Charles came and said “Come with me “. We went to his car and listened to the final rounds of the Lionel Rose, Fighting Harada world title fight being broadcast from Japan. Charles also had a family interest as cousin Jack Rennie was Lionel Rose’s trainer.
Charles was notorious for frantic rushes to the airport. On one occasion following arrival at the Airport his driver Glynn Evans noticed smoke coming from the exhaust. Charles after a quick glance “No flame all’s well”. He prefers cars with grunt and likes driving. Recently he was required to have a new photo taken when he renewed his driver’s license.
Charles’s career achievements.
- On appointment to New Zealand in1960 Charles succeeded in growing the Bank’s NZ business through supervision of structural change and policy within the merged Bank. In addition he fostered relationship between executive and staff by his involvement in Staff and Social Club activities. Over many years he retained contact with NZ Retired Officers’ Club. His ongoing interest and support of ANZ Retired Officers’ Club Vic is appreciated by all of us.
- On appointment as Assistant General Manager 1964 responsibility for the Bank’s rapidly expanding International Banking business.
- Direct involvement in discussions with Reserve Bank, Treasury and other major Banks leading to the introduction of Bankcard . Reserve Bank approval in 1972.
- Planning for the transfer of the Bank’s domicile from London to Melbourne. Announced 1976.
- Planned Construction of a new, modern headquarters at 55 Collins Street. Initially it was a single tower and if I am allowed some liberty this construction was referred to among staff as “Rennie’s erection”.
- As General Manager ANZ Bank 1967-1970 and Managing Director ANZ Banking Group 1973-1976.Charles was directly involved in the planned merger of ANZ and ES&A. and subsequent implementation from 1970.
Charles your banking skills, friendly personal qualities whether in dealings with government, business, international and bank colleagues, also junior staff, all contributed to your successful career and personal achievements.
On behalf of all present thank you for your outstanding contribution to the Union Bank, ANZ Bank and ANZ Banking Group we wish you a very happy 100thbirthday on 31st March.”