After the market and Francesco De Ferrari himself were blindsided by news of his impending departure, it has emerged that shareholders frustrated at the slow pace of the turnaround have been pushing for more dramatic change.

Shares in AMP were freely traded in NZ for two hours before the company issued a clarifying statement on Friday morning to the ASX, which had halted trade in AMP shares for the second time in two days, that the board was discussing the potential departure of Mr De Ferrari.
The board of the 172-year-old company met three times this week to discuss company governance and the impending end of the 30-day exclusivity agreement between AMP and US-based Ares Management to complete a joint venture plan for the $190 billion AMP Capital.
During meetings on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, the AMP board discussed frustrations about the slow pace of executing corporate office cost cuts despite Mr De Ferrari last year warning staff of headcount reductions of up to 20 per cent and the painfully drawn-out sales process initiated by Ms Hazelton in September.
An exclusivity deal between Ares and AMP over a 60-40 joint venture for AMP Capitals private markets business runs out on Sunday. The company has faced criticism from shareholders for failing to deliver a substantial deal, instead offering a complicated and unnecessary arrangement to tap into Ares distribution network.
Mr De Ferrari has also been criticised for overseeing the failure to secure the $6 billion takeover offer first proposed by Ares in October. The groups shares have tumbled 40 per cent since he took over in December 2018.
AMPs performance has deteriorated over the past year amid a cultural implosion over the companys mishandling of sexual harassment complaints that has battered its already bruised reputation.
Cost-cutting and re-establishing the remaining wealth management businesses has also taken too long, shareholders have told the board.
On Thursday, shortly before Mr De Ferrari was due to be called into the AMP board meeting, The Australian Financial Review reported that he was poised to resign and that he would be replaced in the interim by Scott Hartley, the current head of AMP Australia which houses the groups wealth, financial advice and banking businesses.
Trade in shares halted again
Trade in AMP shares on the ASX was halted almost an hour after the report, having fallen nearly 4 per cent. Later that evening, AMP issued a statement saying Mr De Ferrari remains in the CEO role.
Although Mr De Ferrari did not resign at that meeting, board discussions involved the future leadership of AMP after AMP Capital is carved-off, at which point it was seen that his private banking experience would no longer suit the company.
On Friday morning, the ASX halted trade in AMP shares again before the company confirmed Mr De Ferraris leadership was drawing to a close.
The board and Mr De Ferrari are working together and constructively discussing the future strategy and leadership of the group, post the completion of AMPs portfolio review, AMP said. These discussions are ongoing and AMP will provide updates as required.
Many senior members within AMP were blindsided by the news of Mr De Ferraris imminent departure on Thursday, including the chief executive himself.
In an email to all staff on Thursday night, Mr De Ferrari sought to dismiss the reports.
I wanted to send you all a personal note following the speculation in an AFR article that I had resigned today, Mr De Ferrari wrote.
I want to assure all of you that I have not resigned and I remain very much in the role and very focused, with the support of all of you, on the significant amount of deliverables we have ahead.
Please dont get distracted by this type of speculation, and keep up the great work you are doing. Thank you, as ever, for delivering every day for our clients, our business and each other.
There is considerable disquiet among shareholders about the proposed AMP Capital deal with Ares.
He talks a good talk but delivery is zero. Every business line has been downgraded on his watch … It is an absolute train wreck.
Former AMP executive
Allan Gray managing director Simon Mawhinney, whose contrarian investment outfit owns 7 per cent of AMP, said he and other shareholders wanted AMP Capital spun out of AMP.
No matter what, AMP Capital must be separate from AMP, be rebranded and must be operated with entrepreneurial drive and with a culture that is fit for purpose, Mr Mawhinney said.
That has to happen. It doesnt matter if Ares is there as a joint-venture partner or not. If Ares cant offer something compelling then we want it spun out to be 100 per cent owned by shareholders.
One former AMP executive said the former Credit Suisse banker in his tenure had lost key executives such as wealth executive Paul Sainsbury, former AMP Capital boss Adam Tindall and bank boss Sally Bruce, while making atrocious hires such as Alex Wade, who resigned after allegations that he sent lewd photos to staff, and Boe Pahari, who was demoted shortly after being promoted amid an outcry over the companys handling of a sexual harassment complaint against the executive.
He was [former chairman David] Murrays chosen pick and the job is obviously way above him. He talks a good talk but delivery is zero. Every business line has been downgraded on his watch. Planners hate him. It is an absolute train wreck, the former executive said.
In NZ watchdogs sights
Amid the sensational leak of Mr De Ferraris looming departure,AMP neglected to halt trade in its New Zealand-listed shares in the period before it clarified the leadership discussions to the ASX, which had halted trade in the stock.
NZ RegCo chief executive Joost van Amelsfort said the watchdogs inquiries would focus on AMPs approach to disclosure ultimately released at 12.04pm (NZT) on Friday.
NZ RegCo engaged with ASX yesterday, and prior to the commencement of trading on NZX today [Friday], in relation to AMPs disclosure. Following further engagement with the ASX after additional media commentary, NZ RegCo imposed a trading halt on AMPs shares to match the ASX trading pause. NZ RegCo will assess what additional inquiries it may make in respect of these matters, Mr van Amelsfort said.
Scott Hartley, the former chief executive of Sunsuper, who was appointed to run AMP Australia (the companys wealth and banking divisions) in December last year, is expected to take over the top job in an acting capacity.
It will be an abrupt exit for Mr De Ferrari who was only two years into a three-year turnaround strategy for AMP.
Ms Hazelton launched the sale process dubbed the portfolio review for the company when former chairman David Murray resigned amid shareholder revolt over the companys handling of a sexual harassment complaint.
Despite Ares lobbing a $6 billion whole-of-company takeover of AMP in October, the suitor walked away from those proposals and has even spurned the possibility of a purchase of the key asset management division, AMP Capital. Instead, a binding agreement was struck last month in which Ares would buy a fraction of AMP Capitals private markets business.
The portfolio review was seen as a failure of Ms Hazelton to endorse Mr De Ferraris strategy with AMPs ongoing business. However, her portfolio review has also failed to drum up any serious excitement in the market for potential corporate acquisitions of AMP.