(Adds background on AMP's recent performance, outgoing CEO quote)
April 1 (Reuters) - Embattled wealth manager AMP Ltd named Australia and New Zealand Banking Group deputy chief Alexis George as its new group chief executive officer on Thursday, with Francesco De Ferrari set to retire from the role.
The move comes just days after De Ferrari's assurances that he was in for the long haul, as AMP firmly rejected a media report he had resigned.
AMP has seen its shares plunge nearly 75% since 2018 after a government inquiry into the financial sector found widespread misconduct within the company that led to an exodus of clients, even as other scandals emerged.
De Ferrari took over as AMP's CEO in 2018 to stabilise the company. He put all its business units up for sale, but last month disclosed a A$6.36 billion ($4.8 billion) buyout from Ares Management had fallen through, in a big blow to AMP.
The company said Ares instead planned to buy 60% of AMP's star private markets business, AMP Capital, leaving the rest of the company's future uncertain.
"The future AMP will be largely focused on domestic wealth management and banking opportunities... it means the group will have a very different business mix and geographic profile requiring a different strategic focus from the CEO," De Ferrari said in AMP's Thursday statement.
Incoming boss George, who will take over in the third quarter of the year, spent seven years at ANZ, where she also headed its wealth management business, leading the bank's wealth divestment program, including the separation and sale of its life insurance and pension businesses.
Prior to that, she spent ten years with Dutch firm ING Group in a number of senior roles, AMP said.
(Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)