AMP (ASX:AMP) share price on watch as new CEO commences “rebuild”

AMP’s new boss has her job cut out for her as its shares hover close to record lows on her first day on the job.

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AMP share price fall represented by illustration of large boot almost trampling three businessmen

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It’s an inauspicious start for Alexis George as the AMP Ltd (ASX: AMP) share price is stuck near record lows on the first day she takes over as chief executive.

While the AMP share price gained a cent to $1.05 this morning, it will be little comfort to embattled shareholders.

Shares in the 172-year-old wealth manager has shed a third of its value this year as it hit an all-time low of $1.04 on Friday.

Can the AMP share price rebound from new leadership?

The slight reprieve in the AMP share price is no cause of celebration. If anything, it signals that significant doubts remain on whether George can turn the Titanic despite her strong credentials.

George was the deputy CEO of Australia and New Zealand Banking GrpLtd (ASX: ANZ) and worked closely with the bank’s respected chief Shayne Elliot.

Importantly, she headed ANZ Bank’s wealth division and oversaw the successful divestment of two troublesome businesses.

AMP’s new boss has the right credentials

These included the 2017 sale of its insurance arm to Zurich for $2.9 billion and its pensions and investments business to IOOF Holdings Limited (ASX: IFL) for $850 million, reported the Australian Financial Review.

The AMP share price needs a similar success as it looks to transform and simplify its business in the wake of the damning Haynes Royal Commission. That Royal Commission exposed many illegal and unethical practices that forced AMP’s former chief and chairman to fall on their swords.

Legacy issues won’t stop haunting AMP share price

The corporate regulator may have dropped criminal proceeding against AMP, but it’s started civil proceedings in the Federal Court in relation to alleged breaches concerning the historic charging of Plan Service Fees.

One would have thought that flogging assets would be an easy task in this market. Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are the flavour of the month thanks to cheap debt and corporate hunger for profit growth.

AMP not invited to M&A party

The surge in the Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT) share price on the back of a mega takeover proposal by Square Inc (NYSE: SQ), and the $21 billion merger of Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) and Oil Search Ltd (ASX: OSH) says it all.

The AMP share price is just not feeling the love as investors are reluctant to give it the benefit of the doubt.

This is despite the fact that most analysts agree that its sum-of-parts is worth more than the current share price.

Foolish takeaway

As a shareholder of AMP, I am certainly cheering for George even though the odds seem stacked against her.

Companies in distress have a poor bargaining hand. In many respects, the same playbook is being used on the Crown Resorts Ltd (ASX: CWN) share price even as it fielded multiple bids.

George knows she will need to put some runs on the board before confidence can return. In the meantime, investors rather sit on their hands as too many fingers have been lost from trying to catch falling knives.

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Motley Fool contributor Brendon Lau owns shares of AMP Limited, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Limited, and Santos Limited. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and has recommended AFTERPAY T FPO. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended AFTERPAY T FPO. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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