Paul points us to this interview: Inside Business – 29/04/2007: ANZ posts impressive first-half profits.
The money quote:
ALAN KOHLER, PRESENTER: […] Well, John MacFarlane, you’re saying that Asia is hot, which of course it is, and that ANZ is moving early to position yourself there. But you actually moved out early, didn’t you, by selling Grindleys in 2000. In fact Friday is the seventh anniversary of the sale of Grindleys, so doesn’t what you’re doing now in Asia basically represent an admission that that was a mistake?
JOHN MCFARLANE: Everything in its time. If we had not sold Grindleys when we sold it we would not be as successful in Australia and New Zealand as we are today, I can assure you of that.
ALAN KOHLER: Why is that?
JOHN MCFARLANE: Focus is everything in business and Grindleys was a distraction for us. It occupied more than half our management time, more than half our board time and contributed nine per cent of our profits. And it was the wrong part of the world.