AMP Australia CEO Exit Raises More Questions Than Answers

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

Leaving more questions unanswered, the AMP has undergone another major change in senior management.

The embattled financial services group yesterday revealed in a short statement that AMP Australia chief executive Alex Wade has stepped down effective immediately.

“AMP has accepted the resignation and confirms Mr. Wade will leave the business,” the wealth giant told the ASX in a statement.

AMP New Zealand’s wealth management arm CEO Blair Vernon will replace him, commencing immediately.

There was no other explanation and means the company, which is already battling bad publicity over the appointment of Boe Pahari as head of AMP Capital, AMP Ltd’s main business. He has already seen the department and appointment of several key executives.

But the shock departure of Mr. Wade yesterday (immediately means something serious has happened that required his immediate departure) is the biggest blow to the company since the board was revamped in the wake of AMP’s rightful monstering at the Hayne Royal Commission in 2018 and in the inquiry’s final report.

Mr. Wade was appointed to AMP’s Group Leadership Team as Group Executive, Advice, effective January 7, 2019. Previously, he spent 12 years with Credit Suisse, most recently as head of developed and emerging Asia for Credit Suisse Private Banking and, before that, as chief of staff for the Asia Pacific and head of private banking Australia.

Last November he was then named head of AMP Australia when the group restructured last year by combining its banking and Australian wealth management businesses into one organisation.

The leadership change was revealed just days before AMP is due to unveil what will be a huge loss in its half-year results next Thursday, and amid a company-wide cultural overhaul following widespread outrage over the appointment of Mr. Pahari as chief executive of AMP Capital.

The Financial Review reported last month that in an all-staff email, “AMP Australia boss Alex Wade last month admitted he had been too slow to deliver on overhauling “ behaviors” in the company’s sprawling wealth and retail divisions, and said, “we will do better, and I will do better”.

Perhaps there’s a clue in that paragraph about why Mr. Wade left yesterday.

The news saw AMP shares edge up 1.4% to $1.445. They had plunged sharply in July 31 after shocking the market with news of a big write down and outflow of funds in the June half-year.

Glenn Dyer

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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