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Murray quits as AMP chair, Pahari demoted after sex allegations rock company


The debacle of AMP’s board and management has ended with the high-profile scalp of David Murray quitting as chair in the fallout from the Boe Pahari sexual harassment allegations.

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The controversial Bo Pahari will also step down as the chief executive of AMP Capital and will return to his old job within the company related to the company’s infrastructure equity.

Director John Fraser has also quit.

The purge follows weeks of controversy at the company over sexual harassment claims relating to Pahari. AMP told the ASX this morning that major shareholders had expressed concern.

Those allegations followed damaging evidence in the Hayne Royal Commission about AMP charging dead people.

Pahari won the promotion because of his role in generating profits for AMP from the infrastructure position but then faced claims by former AMP employee  Julia Szlakowski.

AMP had been facing pressure to release a report into the allegations by British QC, Andrew Burn. Last week confirmed it would.

Pahari had already been fined $500,000 by the company over allegations.  He had recently appointed himself as the head of AMP’s inclusion and diversity council.

The allegations, reported widely said “a former AMP employee claimed Pahari discussed his ‘limp dick’ when she declined his offer to use his credit card to buy clothes, called another employee ‘a fag’, asked her to use an encrypted messaging app so he could evade AMP’s scrutiny, and spent company money funding international travel when it was seen as not necessary by other AMP Capital managers”.

Outgoing chair David Murray said AMP needed to continue its transformation under chief executive Francesco De Ferrari with the support and confidence of investors, institutional clients, employees, partners and clients without distraction.

“The board has made it clear that it always treated the complaint against Mr Pahari seriously,” Murray said.

“My view remains that it was dealt with appropriately in 2017 and Mr Pahari was penalised accordingly.

“However, it is clear to me that although there is considerable support for our strategy, some shareholders did not consider Mt Pahari’s promotion to AMP Capital chief executive 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.”

Among the shareholders to complain about Pahari’s promotion was US-based fund Harris Associates, Sydney-based asset manager Allan Gray.

The powerful Australian Council of Superannuation Investors described Pahari’s position as “untenable”.

Incoming chair Debra Hazelton said the board would focus on working with Francesco and the leadership team to deliver long term value.

“I am determined to restore trust and confidence of our clients, shareholders and employees,” she said.

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