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AXA’s Ralph Stewart announces departure

AXA New Zealand CEO Ralph Stewart has announced he will step down from his role on March 30 following AXA's sale to AMP.

Monday, March 7th 2011, 5:25PM 8 Comments

Stewart has headed AXA New Zealand for seven years and said the company could be proud of the progress made over the past decade, and that its sale to AMP represented a significant opportunity for further growth.

"The next step for the New Zealand business is to grow our scale as quickly as possible so we can compete with the largest financial institutions in New Zealand. The merger with AMP represents this opportunity," he said.

"The combined business will be a very serious contender and one of the 10 largest companies in New Zealand. Working with AMP is a very real and practical way to ensure we can continue to support customers with competitive products and services."

Stewart said AXA had built a strong and effective team of staff and advisers who will continue to play important roles.

"On a personal note, I want to thank all of AXA's staff and advisers for their support over the past seven years. We have some truly wonderful people who have nothing but the best interests of our clients at heart."

The last regulatory approval for the AXA sale was completed today with the second court hearing in Australia approving the share scheme. The sale will be settled over the remainder of March.

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Comments from our readers

On 7 March 2011 at 8:55 pm Independent Observer said:
I have had the privilege of knowing Ralph for many years - and he is a credit to both the NZ financial services industry & the accomplishments of AXA in NZ.
On 8 March 2011 at 8:35 am fred said:
Ralph has certainly done an admirable job for AXA too, amidst challenging times.
His depth of knowledge of finamcial markets combined with the NZ industry will not be easily replicated.
Go well Ralph.
On 8 March 2011 at 12:05 pm colin said:
The industry will miss Ralph as he is one of the very few in positions of influence who thought outside the square and this offered oportunities to advisors that sadly is unlikely to occur with the AMP model. Always good company and though we didn't always agree,AXA advisors will miss him.
Good luck Ralph.
On 8 March 2011 at 2:14 pm BK said:
I have just read the news on Good Returns that you are leaving and certainly Phil's Blog has said it exactly. You will be a big loss to AXA Advisers but with the AMP takeover/merger I can totally understand what must have been going on in your mind. My sincere hope is that AMP realises that its life product range is inferior to AXA's and maximises its opportunities with using AXA for its insurance brand, as well as the staff, who are also superior.
I feel sure our professional paths will continue to inter-twine.
On 8 March 2011 at 4:53 pm Wayne Pound said:
Yes Ralph is an Advisers C E O and very approachable.
AXA and their brand name was starting to power away with their innovative products and ideas - God knows what is going to happen now. Credit to the inside staff also.
On 8 March 2011 at 10:04 pm GB said:
Ralph was able to get Management staff and advisers working as a team with a high level of respect all round. It is debateable that AMP can produce the same synergy. Farewell mate.
On 16 March 2011 at 5:08 pm Alastar said:
Ralph on behalf of AXA advisers you will be missed. From what I hear there might be a whole lot more of us joining you soon with the AMP takeover/merger nearing. No one I know is expecting AMP to adopt AXA's products/ideas (or management style) despite them being superior to their own. Such a shame and AXA clients will vote with their feet in time. Best wishes again Ralph.
On 16 March 2011 at 10:00 pm BRM said:
How on earth so many correspondents can heap praise on Ralph Stewart I simply do not know. Yes Ralph is a nice bloke and great company, but separate the personal from the business performance and a different picture emerges. Over the past eight years Ralph and his predecessor (Vaughn Underwood) have presided over the reduction of AXA NZ's new business market share by more than 50%. Had the management of AXA NZ been better the French might not have found offloading quite so attractive a proposition.Whether the fault or faults lay with Ralph and Vaughn or across the Tasman where the important decisions are taken I can't say, but I can say that the last few years have been little short of disastrous for AXA NZ and fulsome praise for Ralph Stewart is misplaced even though he is a good bloke.
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