AMP (AMP) has appointed Craig Meller its chief executive officer, replacing Craig Dunn, as the group unveiled a lift in first-half underlying profit ahead of its forecast.
In the six months to June 30, AMP posted underlying profit of $440 million, above the company's guidance for between $415 million and $435 million set in June.
Net profit came in at $393 million, a 6% increase on the $373 million in the previous corresponding period and well above analyst expectations for $322 million.
Revenue in the period was $9.081 billion, a 24% increase on the $7.301 billion recorded in the previous corresponding period.
The group will pay a partially-franked interim dividend of 11.5 cents, payable to shareholders on the register as at September 6, on October 11.
AMP also announced a new business efficiency program had commenced that is expected to deliver $200 million in pre-tax recurring, run-rate cost savings by the end of 2016.
Mr Dunn said the broader life insurance sector was facing both structural and cyclical change, but AMP had a range of initiatives to address these factors, including improved customer retention campaigns and additional resources to handle customer claims more effectively (see Alan Kohler's weekend briefing on AMP).
"Improving the performance of the insurance business is an area of critical focus as we introduce a series of actions to improve both customer retention and the management of claims, and which will deliver benefits to both customers and shareholders," he said.
Craig Meller to succeed Craig Dunn
Mr Meller will commence in the position of chief executive officer on January 1, following the retirement of Mr Dunn.
Mr Dunn has been chief executive officer for six years, and has been with AMP for 13 years.
AMP chairman Peter Mason said Mr Meller’s appointment following an extensive internal and external review ans was testament to the "quality and rigour" of the group's approach to succession planning.
"Craig Meller has demonstrated a great capacity to lead and grow the business since he joined AMP more than a decade ago," he said.
"He has successfully led AMP’s largest business unit during a period of significant regulatory and industry change, while at the same time new technologies have been driving a major shift in customer behaviour."