AMP Group general counsel and former Clayton Utz partner Brian Salter has stood aside ahead of King & Wood Mallesons’ review of governance issues at the troubled financial giant.
Over the past week, senior AMP executives have provided evidence to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry indicating the financial institution has engaged in false and misleading (and potentially criminal) behaviour over a seven-year period.
Amid the royal commission fallout, AMP has announced a raft of leadership changes including the immediate resignation of chief executive Craig Meller and interim appointment of board member Mike Wilkins as CEO.
Mr Wilkins will lead a new board committee to investigate the issues raised by the royal commission and has retained King & Wood Mallesons as external counsel.
While that committee is conducting its review, AMP Group general counsel Brian Salter will “take leave”, with AMP general counsel, governance, David Cullen appointed as acting group general counsel.
Mr Cullen is a former senior associate at Gilbert & Tobin and Blake Dawson Waldron (now Ashurst) and was an executive officer at the Australian Securities Exchange.
The appointment of KWM is significant given the firm’s previous contractual relationship with Clayton Utz.
When the conduct of “fees for no service” that the royal commission is investigating was first discovered by AMP, Mr Salter contracted his former employer to conduct a review of the misconduct.
The royal commission has heard evidence of collusion between senior AMP executives and Clayton Utz partners that may have influenced the findings of the independent report – a charge Clayton Utz has vehemently denied.
Mr Salter spent 19 years at Clayton Utz before joining AMP’s in-house legal team in 2008, including as a partner in the banking and financial services department.
Litigation firm Quinn Emanuel is currently considering a class action against AMP for shareholder losses, with backing from global third-party funder Burford.
Pictured above: Brian Salter