AMP chairman David Murray has resigned over the promotion of an executive previously accused of sexual harassment.
Also stepping down is AMP director John Fraser.
Shareholders are angry at the way the board has handled harassment complaints.
AMP chairman resigns over promotion
AMP has faced a series of sexual harassment complaints involving senior managers in recent years.
One of them involved Boe Pahari, who the financial company recently promoted to head of Capital Services.
This was despite a sexual harassment complaint made against him by former executive Julia Szlakowski.
Szlakowski accused Pahari of inappropriate conduct doing a work trip to London in 2017.
AMP subsequently conducted an investigation which concluded the allegations unsubstantiated.
However, it did penalise Pahari financially by slashing his bonus by $500,000 for breaching the company’s Code of Conduct.
As a result, Szlakowski quit the company the following year saying the alleged harassment left her traumatised.
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Major shareholders expressed anger at the recent promotion of Pahari following the harassment allegations.
They accused the AMP board of mishandling that complaint, in addition to a number of others.
As a result, Murray and Fraser both resigned today.
AMP has also demoted Pahari who will return to his previous role within the company.
Murray insists that he, and the rest of the board, treated the complaint against Pahari seriously at the time.
“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 Mr Pahari’s promotion to AMP Capital CEO to be appropriate.”
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Sexual harassment costs careers
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan warned sexual harassment costs careers.
“The result of Mr Pahari’s alleged conduct three years ago, and AMP’s subsequent handling of the matter, has damaged a number of high flying careers,” he said.
“The reaction of AMP shareholders to Mr Pahari’s promotion is evidence that the wider community no longer finds sexual harassment acceptable.”
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