Francesco De Ferrari is gone – but AMP’s problems remain.
Like the annual human sacrifices pagan cultures made in service of good crops and fine weather, AMP has a new chief executive. And like everybody before her, Alexis George is eminently qualified for the job. Ms George has 25 years’ experience in financial services and led ANZ’s $4 billion wealth divestment program, including the separation and sale of its life and superannuation businesses. If anybody can do it, it’s her.
But this is a hospital pass. The biggest challenges from De Ferrari’s tenure will remain long after he’s left 33 Alfred Street.
Transform Australian and New Zealand wealth management during some of the most significant upheaval in industry history. Figure out what to do with the bevy of businesses that AMP Capital lacks the scale to compete in. Overhaul an internal culture that has landed AMP on the front page too many times to count. And do all of that without the assistance of the executives who have abandoned ship since Boe Pahari’s short reign as AMP Capital CEO.
“While there is no optimal time for transition, 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,” Francesco De Ferrari said.
“Leading AMP, a business that is part of the fabric of Australia and New Zealand, is a privilege. I wish Alexis and AMP only the best and you can count on me to continue cheering for its success from the sidelines.”
AMP’s handling of the situation doesn’t exactly engender confidence, either. When news broke that Mr De Ferrari was set to depart, AMP said he wasn’t – and stuck with that line for more than a week. Shareholders are doubtless ecstatic about AMP’s robust disclosure regime. One can only hope that we don’t see a repeat performance should the challenge of turning the business around prove insurmountable.
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