Two directors of AMP have preemptively resigned after it became apparent they would not be re-elected at the company’s AGM on Thursday, while a third will depart by the end of 2018.
Vanessa Wallace and Holly Kramer will step down from the AMP board prior to Thursday’s AGM in Melbourne.
Patty Akopiantz, who is the longest serving director on the board, will leave AMP at the end of the year.
Ms Wallace has also resigned from her position as chair of AMP Capital Holdings, with an effective date to be determined.*
Prior to the announcement by AMP, the three resigning board members were the only women on AMP’s eight-member board.
AMP will maintain its resolution for the election of Andrew Harmos as a non-executive director, to be voted on at Thursday’s AGM.
Commenting on the development, Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) chief executive Louise Davidson “strongly encouraged” AMP to avoid ending up with no women on its board.
“There is no shortage of appropriately skilled, experienced and talented women for directorships in Australia,” Ms Davidson said.
“We categorically reject the link which some have tried to make between governance failures at AMP and gender,” the ACSI CEO added.
Nevertheless, ACSI welcomed AMP’s “belated acknowledgement that greater board accountability and renewal is necessary in response to revelations about poor governance practices at the banking royal commission”, Ms Davidson said.
“We look forward to hearing more from the company about why these particular directors and not others have resigned.”
The Governance Institute said that the resignations showed that AMP is “taking responsibility for governance failures” but paid a price in board diversity.
“There is a pool of diverse, suitably skilled talent in Australia, keen for opportunities to serve on top ASX boards,” said Governance Institute chief executive Steven Burrell.
“The breadth of experience women and people of diverse backgrounds bring to boards can assist in driving the critical cultur[al] change needed for governance reform,” Mr Burrell said.
“Will AMP find places at their board table for this talent? We’ll wait and see,” Mr Burrell added.
Correction: This article originally stated, incorrectly, that Patty Akopiantz had stood down as chair of AMP Capital. It is Vanessa Wallace who has chosen to resign her position as chair of AMP Capital.