"Devastated" AMP CEO announces immediate resignation

AMP shares have been in freefall since the company began giving testimony to the royal commission on Monday

Former IAG chief executive Mike Wilkins, who joined AMP's board in 2016, will replace Mr Meller on an interim basis.

Chief Executive Officer Craig Meller has stepped down with immediate effect, the first scalp of Australia's inquiry into misconduct in the financial industry, which this week heard the fund manager had deliberately misled regulators over charging customers for services they didn't receive.

"I am personally devastated by the issues which have been raised publicly this week, particularly by the impact they have had on our customers, employees, planners and shareholders", Mr Meller said.

AMP shares have been in freefall since the company began giving testimony to the royal commission on Monday, wiping about $1.3 billion off its market capitalisation.

The apology came after a banking royal commission found earlier this week that AMP lied to Australia's corporate watchdog for nearly a decade to cover its widespread practice of charging customers for services they did not receive.

A board committee has been established to review the issues related to the advice business that were uncovered by the commission.

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AMP confirmed it will make a submission to the Royal Commission in response to the issues raised and will include discussion of the independence of Clayton Utz's report.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told Sky News television on Friday that revelations about AMP from the inquiry were "very concerning" and Meller's sudden departure "is obviously one of the consequences".

The Royal Commission is a government inquiry into the Australian financial sector which seeks to restore confidence in the sector after widespread allegations of misconduct including interest-rate rigging, accusations that some institutions withheld legitimate insurance payouts, and accusations of money-laundering.

Counsel assisting the inquiry, Michael Hodge, presented emails on Wednesday suggesting Meller's name was deleted because it might "attract unnecessary attention" from the regulator.

"Boards, at the end of the day, are responsible for these organisations, and there will be a lot of focus on executives, where executives haven't been able to deliver here".

There will also be longer prison sentences for serious corporate crimes, up to 10 years in prison for the worst offences.


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