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Francesco de Ferrari leaves AMP – could he ever have won?

Francesco de Ferrari gave up a plum private banking job at Credit Suisse to take over troubled AMP. It was always a tough ask. Personnel mis-steps did not help, but in the end there was not going to be much of a business left for him to run.

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Euromoney remembers sitting down with Francesco de Ferrari one day in 2018 in Credit Suisse’s Singapore offices at One Raffles Link with a view over the Padang playing fields. He was as apparently relaxed and genial as usual, at the top of the Asia-Pacific private banking business that was increasingly the engine room of the whole bank. But when the interview was done and the conversation turned to Australia, he seemed particularly interested.

So, when the news came in August that year that he would become CEO of AMP, our first thought was: well, that makes sense of that chat. The second was: what the hell is he doing?

At the time he joined, AMP was coming out of the Royal Commission in worse shape than anyone, which was a singular achievement, given how grim the position was for the entire industry at the time. CEO Craig Meller had been kicked out by the board, followed a week later by that board’s chair, Catherine Brenner, after it had become clear that AMP had misled the corporate regulator, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, on the charging of customers for advice it never gave.

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