National Australia Bank today said its chief executive and chairman would resign after blistering criticism from the head of a major inquiry into financial-sector misconduct. 

Chief executive Andrew Thorburn and Chairman Ken Henry are the first heads of one of Australia's "Big Four" banks to lose their jobs in the fallout from the Royal Commission inquiry.

The inquiry had exposed widespread wrongdoing in the industry last year. 

The commission's final report on Monday named the two as standing out from their peers by appearing unable to learn from their mistakes.

Thorburn had ruffled shareholders by planning two months of leave on either side of the Royal Commission's delivery of its final report, which was hotly anticipated as a watershed moment for the country's banking industry. 

The day after the report went public, he said he was cancelling the rest of his leave and released a statement disagreeing with the commissioner's criticism of his attitude. 

Henry also dismissed the criticism in a statement. 

NAB said director Philip Chronican would serve as acting CEO. 

It halted trading in its shares ahead of the announcement.