Female AMP directors leave amid outrage

Vanessa Wallace and Holly Kramer will step down before Thursday’s annual general meeting after the Australian Shareholders’ Association confirmed it would vote against them.

Andrew Harmos will still stand for re-election despite the ASA having said it intends to oppose him, while Patty Akopiantz will end her seven plus-year stint on the board by the end of 2018.

Ms Akopiantz is AMP’s longest-serving director.

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Vanessa Wallace (right) was thanked for her service to AMP by interim executive chairman Mike Wilkins. Picture: David Geraghty / The Australian

Vanessa Wallace (right) was thanked for her service to AMP by interim executive chairman Mike Wilkins. Picture: David Geraghty / The AustralianSource:News Corp Australia

Patty Akopiantz was on the board for more than seven years. Picture. Supplied

Patty Akopiantz was on the board for more than seven years. Picture. SuppliedSource:News Corp Australia

A resolution will be put to shareholders to elect Mr Harmos on Thursday. It’s understood he is digging in his heels despite calls to block his board seat.

Despite advisory firm CGI Glass Lewis intitally recommending clients vote for the directors, it revised its stance last week, and recommended a vote against them.

The resignations follow the ASA’s rejection of incoming AMP chairman David Murray’s call for more time to make changes at a company that has already lost its chair and chief executive.

Interim executive chairman Mike Wilkins thanked all three outgoing directors for their services.

“Our shareholders are demanding board accountability and need to know that meaningful change is underway,” Mr Wilkins said in a statement on Tuesday.

“I’d like to thank Patty, Vanessa and Holly for their service to AMP. They are extremely capable directors who have all made valuable contributions and brought great diversity of thought and experience to the board.”

“They have listened to and acted on the feedback from our investors.”

Holly Kramer will also step down before Thursday. Picture: Supplied.

Holly Kramer will also step down before Thursday. Picture: Supplied.Source:News Corp Australia

AMP did not propose replacement directors as it continues a process of board renewal.

Mr Murray and Mr Wilkins will lead the search to replace CEO Craig Meller, who along with chair Catherine Brenner, resigned after AMP told the banking royal commission it charged customers for advice they never received and lied about it to regulators.

The Australian reported counsel assisting Rowena Orr QC told the royal commission that it should be open to finding that in four of the 20 times AMP misled ASIC over the fee-for-no-service scandal, it breached four sections of the Corporations Act that carry criminal penalties.

AMP denies allegations it may have committed a criminal offence by misleading regulators.

Catherine Brenner has resigned as Chairman of AMP effective immediately, to be replaced by Mike Wilkins who will be interim executive chairman.

It follows the ‘fee-for-no-service’ scandal which was uncovered by the Royal Commission into banking.

In a statement released by the company, Ms Brenner says ‘I have always sought to act in the best interests of the company’.

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