Alexis George has been appointed to take the helm of AMP, seeing the wealth business becoming a rarity on the ASX 200 in that it will be led by both a female CEO and female chair.
Alexis will take the Chief Executive Officer role at a difficult time for the company, given the issues that have plagued its AMP Capital arm, and following the fallout from the banking royal commission.
The all female leadership team is particularly noteworthy at AMP, given it was just three years ago that AMP’s once gender-equal board became all-male — with female board directors stepping down following investor scrutiny and shareholder pressure. At the time of AMP announcing these female director departures, the board said it was seeking “meaningful change”.
Current CEO Francesco De Ferrari will leave after just two years in the role — including taking on the additional role of overseeing AMP capital following the demotion of Boe Pahari over sexual harassment.
Alexis’ appointment was announced by AMP chair Debra Hazelton, who took the lead on the board after former chair David Murray stepped down in the wake of employee and investor pressure against the board following their approval of Pahari to lead AMP Capital, despite knowing he’d been ordered to pay a financial penalty for sexually harassing a subordinate.
On accepting the board position back in August, Hazelton noted her commitement to regaining “trust and confidence of our clients, shareholders and employees.” She’s been on the AMP board since 2019.
The appointment of Alexis George means there will soon be eleven women leading ASX 200 companies, and at a time when female CEO appointments are still rare. A late 2020 report from Chief Executive Women found that of the 50 CEO appointments to ASX 200 entities over the past two years, just three of them went to women.
Alexis is currently the deputy chief executive of ANZ, a position she’s held since mid-2018, which has included overseeing the bank’s wealth divestment program, including sales of major businesses. She’s expected to start in the third quarter of this year.
“In Alexis George, we have a great leader and strong fit for the future of our company,” Hazelton said in AMP’s statement today.
“On any measure, she has outstanding industry experience in wealth management and banking, and is committed to continue the transformation of AMP’s business, and importantly, our organisation’s culture. Alexis will work with our executive team to complete and build on the strategic initiatives started under Francesco’s leadership and take AMP forward to its next phase of growth.”
Alexis has more than 25 years experience in the financial services industry in Australia and overseas, including seven years with ANZ.
She was previously at ING Group for ten years, taking on a number of senior positions including CEO posts in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and regional COO Asia responsible for product marketing, technology and operations.
AMP shared comprehensive details on Alexis’ CEO contract and pay, including that she will be paid $1.715 million per annum including superannuation. She will receive significant performance incentives as well as sign-on awards.
De Ferrari will step down at the beginning of July.
“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,” the outgoing CEO said in a statement.