ASX appoints new CEO

ASX has given the CEO job to Dominic Stevens, an ASX board member and former CEO of Challenger.

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.

Note: The Intelligent Investor Equity Income and Growth portfolios own shares in ASX. You can find out about investing directly in Intelligent Investor and InvestSMART portfolios by clicking here.

Disclosure: The author owns shares in ASX.