AMP chair David Murray has resigned, effective immediately, following shareholders’ concerns over the company’s mishandling of sexual harassment complaints and the promotion of top executive Boe Pahari.
AMP director and former treasury secretary John Fraser has also resigned, while Boe Pahari has been stood down from his role as AMP Capital chief executive.
The string of changes at AMP come following the decision to promote Pahari to the helm of AMP Capital after he had been fined $500,000 as part of a settlement for a sexual harassment complaint from a female colleague in 2018.
Julia Szlakowski, the former employee at the centre of the harassment case, said AMP made “persistent and misleading” efforts to downplay Pahari’s alleged sexual harassment.
Non-executive director Debra Hazelton will replace David Murray as chair, saying in a statement she is committed to regaining “trust and confidence of our clients, shareholders and employees”.
Hazelton has been on the board of AMP since 2019 and has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, including as the local chief executive of Mizuho Bank in Australia and Commonwealth Bank (CBA) in Japan.
Boe Pahari will continue to be employed by AMP, resuming a role at his previous level with the company.
AMP chief executive Francesco De Ferrari will replace Pahari as AMP Capital chief executive on an interim basis.
“These changes respond to feedback expressed by some major shareholders regarding the appointment of Mr Pahari as AMP Capital CEO on 1 July 2020,” AMP said in a statement on Monday morning.
David Murray said AMP always treated the sexual harassment complaint against Pahari seriously and there was always “considerable support” for their strategy.
“The board has made it clear that it has always treated the complaint against Mr Pahari seriously. My view remains that it was dealt with appropriately in 2017 and Mr Pahari was penalised accordingly,” he said in a statement.
“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.
“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 continuity of management, the strategy and, to the extent possible, the board,” Murray said.