AMP shares edged up yesterday in the wake of the shock exit of chairman David Murray and board room supporter, John Fraser, the former head of Federal Treasury.
The exits were the latest in a series of shocks swirling around the company since it fell foul of the Hayden Royal Commission into financial practices that saw boardroom and managerial departures in 2018 and 2019.
The shares rose 1% to $1.445.
Murray had been named to replace Catherine Brenner who was forced out as chair over the disclosures at the Royal Commission.
Murray resigned on Monday and Fraser followed him following a shareholder revolt over the appointment of Boe Pahari as chief executive of its AMP Capital.
In an update provided to the ASX on Monday, before trading started, Murray announced his resignation from the company’s board, effective immediately making it clear it was all to do with the appointment of Boe Pahari as head of AMP Capital and a sexual harassment case Pahara was involved in while based in London in 2017.
“My view remains that it was dealt with appropriately in 2017 and Mr. Pahari was penalised accordingly. However, it is clear to me that, although there is considerable support for our strategy, some shareholders did not consider Mr. Pahari’s promotion to AMP Capital CEO to be appropriate, Murray said in Monday’s statement from the AMP.
Mr. Pahari has also stepped down from the role of AMP Capital CEO effective immediately and will be reduced to his previous role.
AMP CEO Francesco De Ferrari will fill in as CEO of AMP Capital until a new CEO is found and appointed.
Debra Hazelton has been appointed as the new chairman of the financial group.
Mr. Murray said the misconduct matter in relation to Mr. Pahari was dealt with appropriately.
“It is clear to me that, although there is considerable support for our strategy, some shareholders did not consider Mr. Pahari’s promotion to AMP Capital CEO to be appropriate,” he said.
“Although the board’s decision on the appointment was unanimous, my decision to leave reflects my role and accountability as chairman of the board and the need to protect the continuity of management, the strategy, and, to the extent possible, the board.”
Media reports on Monday night said that the AMP’s largest shareholder Allan Gray (a South African-based fund manager) led the opposition to Murray and Fraser and the Pahari appointment to head up AMP Capital.
The reports said Alan Gray CEO Simon Mawhinney last Thursday gave chairman David Murray and CEO Francesco De Ferrari with an ultimatum.
This was either Murray, along with ally John Fraser, resign or Allan Gray would requisition an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders to have the two directors removed.
Four days later Murray and Fraser were gone, resigning at an AMP board meeting held on Sunday.