Francesco De Ferrari, AMP chief, officially ends his lame duck period at the end of June, leaving a gap of little over a month before Alexis George steps into the breach.
James Georgeson, AMP chief financial official, would fill the short-term vacancy between the departure of De Ferrari on June 30 and the August 2 start-date for George (currently, ANZ deputy chief), the ASX-listed company confirmed last week.
De Ferrari resigned this April following intense media speculation that his almost three-year rescue mission at the embattled financial services company was over.
As AMP finalised the chief executive transition dates, the group also named ex State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) senior investment executive, Shawn Johnson, to head its to-be-reformed funds management business.
The Boston-based Johnson, who has run own investment firm – Guidon Global – since leaving SSGA in 2012, assumes the AMP Capital chief job on June 28 from caretaker operational head, David Atkin.
Former head of the large Australian industry superannuation fund, Cbus, Atkin joined as deputy AMP Capital chief last December in an interim role supporting De Ferrari. Atkin will leave AMP Capital as scheduled once Johnson arrives.
De Ferrari took on dual duties as AMP Capital chief last August following media pressure that saw Boe Pahari exit the position after a month or so. Pahari returned to his old job as AMP Capital head of infrastructure equity before his full exit was announced in April along with a major shake-up of the business.
After failing to secure a binding offer from US investment firm Ares Management to buy its private markets business, AMP revealed a revised plan in April to break up its almost $200 billion fund unit. Ares was originally in line to purchase the entire AMP business but folded those talks in December ahead of thwarted efforts to buy the AMP Capital private markets arm.
Under the new strategy, AMP will spin-off the private markets business into a stand-alone listed entity next year while it seeks to hive-off or seek a ‘partnership’ deal for the remaining listed global equity and fixed income (GEFI) division.
Australian media reported at least two interested parties – Macquarie and Fortlake Asset Management – have been kicking the GEFI tyres, although no firm offers have emerged as yet.
Most of the AMP Capital NZ assets fall under the GEFI domain.
AMP Capital NZ itself is facing some disruption as sister firm, AMP wealth management, shifts an estimated $10 billion to a new passive home with BlackRock. It is understood that the BlackRock transition, originally due to take place early this month, has been pushed back a few weeks.
Meanwhile, Johnson has been charged with leading the AMP Capital “international growth strategy and the proposed demerger of the private markets businesses”, according to a release.
“… Johnson will be based initially in Sydney, Australia but will work on a global basis across the key international offices of the Private Markets business,” the statement says.
During his decade-long stint at SSGA he oversaw about US$2.1 trillion across 450 strategies including all of the private equity assets managed by the global financial behemoth. Johnson was also chair of the SSGA investment committee.
Debra Hazelton, AMP chair, said in the release: “As AMP Capital separates from AMP and establishes a new culture and brand, Shawn has clearly demonstrated his capability to lead and inspire teams of highly capable investment professionals.”
AMP, which embarked on a A$200 million share buyback program in April, has seen its stock price bounce a little to over A$1.20 last Friday from a low of just over A$1 in late May.