After conducting the ubiquitous global talent search, we’re pleased to see that ASX has stayed close to home to find its new chief executive. Dominic Stevens, a director of ASX since 2013, will take up the role immediately.
Elmer Funke Kupper (who left in March) and chairman Rick Holliday-Smith (who’s been running the company since then) have put the company in a strong position so there’s no need for any shake-up.
That said, ASX’s business is undergoing rapid change, and Stevens’ experience at Challenger – as deputy chief executive from 2003 to 2008 and chief executive from then until 2012 – will equip him well for that. In that time, Challenger grew to become Australia’s leading annuity provider and, in his four years as chief executive, normalised net profit rose from $218m to $297m. Perhaps the greatest endorsement, though, is that since he left profits have continued to march forward – to $334m in 2015. Since he took over in August 2008 (a low base admittedly) Challenger’s share price has almost quadrupled.
Stevens will be replaced as a non-executive director by Melinda Conrad – a strategy and marketing adviser, former executive with Colgate-Palmolive, and a current board member of OzForex and the Reject Shop.
ASX shares are up 6% since we downgraded to Hold last month. HOLD.
Disclosure: The author owns shares in ASX.