In a serious blow to board gender diversity, AMP’s three remaining female board directors will step down.
The board directors were facing investor scrutiny and pressure in the lead up to AMP’s annual general meeting this week, following shocking and damaging findings at the banking royal commission in recent weeks.
Two of the non-executive directors, Holly Kramer and Vanessa Wallace, will go prior to Thursday’s meeting.
The third, Patty Akopiantz, will leave at the end of the year. She’s AMP’s longest serving board member and will stay on to assist with the board ‘renewal process’, according to the ASX statement.
Kramer and Wallace both faced a push by the Australian Shareholders’ Association to vote against their re-election.
Catherine Brenner stepped down as AMP chair last week, following the earlier departure of CEO Craig Meller.
In the ASX statement, interim executive chair Mike Wilkins said shareholders were demanding “meaningful change” and that the three women had “listened to and acted on the feedback from our investors” by stepping down.
He thanked them for bringing “great diversity of thought and experience to the board.”
In a statement issued to Fairfax Media, Kramer said that at all times she has acted with integrity and professionalism, but that as a board director she shared accountability for the current situation. “While I would have liked to continue to push for change, I realise that would require significant shareholder support for my position.”
Akopiantz, Kramer and Wallace were the only three remaining women on the eight person board.
The resignation of Vanessa Wallace and Holly Kramer – & the end-of-year departure of Patty Akopiantz – shows @AMP_AU board is taking responsibility for governance failures, but eliminates gender diversity. Will female talent fill these openings? https://t.co/eR54sYVkgM
— GovernanceInstAus (@GovInstAus) May 8, 2018
The question now is that if these three women have resigned to assist with ‘board renewal’, why not any of the other remaining board directors?
We also hope AMP will do everything possible to ensure they don’t end up joining the list of boards on the ASX 200 to have no women, or even to have only one woman.
The Governance Institute has also asked if women will fill these vacancies, while the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors has urged AMP to avoid having an all-male board.
— Gareth Hutchens (@grhutchens) May 8, 2018