Wealth manager AMP has appointed a new chief executive after confirming that Francesco De Ferrari will retire later this year.
Mr De Ferrari was billed as AMP’s saviour after the company’s reputation was mauled in the 2018 banking and financial services royal commission, which ended the career of his predecessor Craig Meller.
AMP’s new chief executive is 25-year financial services veteran Alexis George, who is currently deputy chief executive at ANZ.
The company noted that, as head of wealth at the bank, Ms George led ANZ’s $4 billion divestment program in that area, including the sale of its life insurance and superannuation businesses.
AMP has been in discussions to sell all, or part, of its operations, most recently its lucrative AMP Capital division.
Mr De Ferrari’s exit comes after AMP rejected speculation last week that he was on the brink of leaving, telling the Australian Stock Exchange that he remained chief executive.
He was appointed in 2018 to overhaul AMP’s culture after the royal commission found widespread misconduct, including scandals about “fees for no service” and charging fees to deceased clients.
AMP chair Debra Hazelton said in a statement that Mr De Ferrari had been “an exemplary leader” and that now was the appropriate time to transition to a new chief executive.
“Francesco has led AMP through an extraordinary period responding to unprecedented external challenges,” Ms Hazelton said.
“He led our business through the disruption of COVID-19 and successfully deliver key programs including client remediation and the completion of the sale of AMP Life.”
Alexis George joins AMP on a base salary of $1.71 million and a sign-on award of $4 million in AMP shares to replace her incentive package with ANZ.
Ms George’s short term bonus will be 100 per cent of her base salary with the possibility of 200 per cent is she achieves performance hurdles.
Latest AMP leadership spill
Mr De Ferrari’s reign at AMP will end on July 1 and he will exit with lucrative bonus incentives agreed in his original contract, including his short term incentive for 2021.
Mr De Ferrari will also receive $200,000 for his relocation costs and $300,000 for his work in supporting the AMP Capital business.
The financial services royal commission claimed AMP scalps including then-CEO Craig Meller, chairman Catherine Brenner and three board members.
Former Commonwealth Bank chief executive David Murray, who was brought in as chairman at the height of the scandals, was ousted from his role late last year along with high-profile board member and former Treasury secretary John Fraser.
They fell on their swords after the board was criticised for failing to adequately address a series of revelations about cultural problems at AMP involving sexual harassment of women by senior managers.
For the first time in its lengthy history, AMP will have both a female CEO and chair.