Boss leaves scandal-plagued AMP

AMP’s boss has quit after just over two years at the helm of the ailing wealth giant in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal and fizzled out corporate deals.

AMP’s boss is stepping away from the embattled wealth giant, which has anointed a female bank executive to the top job after being condemned for its handling of a sexual harassment scandal.

The 172-year-old company has spent the past week hosing down reports chief executive Francesco De Ferrari had resigned, but said they were “working together and constructively discussing the future strategy and leadership of the group”.

On Thursday, AMP announced he would retire from the role as the company completed its portfolio review, with ANZ deputy chief executive Alexis George to become his successor some time during the third quarter of this year.

“The board and Francesco agreed that it is an appropriate time to begin the transition to a new CEO to take AMP forward,” the once-mighty financial services group said.

“Francesco has led AMP through an extraordinary period, responding to unprecedented external challenges, all while successfully executing a complex transformation program.”

Mr De Ferrari was brought in to overhaul AMP after the banking royal commission, which found damning evidence AMP advisers were charging fees for no service and in some instances kept charging people who had died.

Since his time at the helm, the value of the company’s shares has plunged by almost half.

AMP was rocked by further scandal last year after it was revealed the newly appointed executive to run AMP Capital, Boe Pahari, had been promoted despite being penalised for an earlier sexual harassment incident.

Mr De Ferrari was forced to apologise to the woman, telling a parliamentary inquiry “we … really deeply regretted the incident” but insisting the cultural problems at AMP were “present in a lot of large corporates”.

The woes continued in recent months for the company, which has been unable to finalise any deal with New York Stock Exchange-listed global asset manager Ares Management Corporation.

Ares has in recent months backed away from a complete takeover of AMP then looked at buying just the AMP Capital division but nothing has eventuated so far.

AMP did, however, complete the sale of its life insurance business in July.

“The board and I agreed that for AMP to deliver on the next phase of its ambitious transformation, at this juncture long-term certainty of leadership is critical for our business, our employees and our clients,” Mr De Ferrari said on Thursday.

“I wish Alexis and AMP only the best and you can count on me to continue cheering for its success from the sidelines.”

Ms George’s remuneration package includes a salary and superannuation totalling $1.7m per annum and a “sign-on award” of shares in AMP with a face value of $4.09m “to replace existing incentive arrangements foregone with (her) previous employer”.

Shares in AMP were up almost 3 per cent at $1.30 about noon AEDT.

The stock’s highest peak over the past decade was $6.70 back in February 2015.

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