* Director blamed by banking inquiry to leave drinks company
* First board casualty of inquiry outside finance sector (Adds proxy advisor comment, background)
By Paulina Duran
SYDNEY May 16 (Reuters) - Australia’s Coca-Cola Amatil said on Wednesday the former chairman of scandal-ridden wealth management company AMP Ltd would leave the drinks company’s board by the end of her term next year.
Corporate Australia is under pressure from a powerful independent inquiry’s findings of widespread wrongdoing in the finance industry, and Catherine Brenner’s departure from the drinks company shows the fallout is spreading to other sectors.
AMP and Commonwealth Bank of Australia have already lost a number of top executives as a result of the inquiry and the government has put all boards on notice that they are ultimately responsible for their conduct.
Brenner quit the board of AMP, Australia’s top wealth manager, after the Royal Commission inquiry found serious board-level misconduct including charging customers fees for no service and deceiving regulators.
Coca-Cola Amatil Chairman Ilana Atlas said Brenner would not seek re-election at next year’s annual general meeting.
“With five of our directors relatively new to the company, Catherine’s continued role on the board over the next 12 months will allow for an orderly transition as we look to appoint a new director at or before next year’s AGM,” Atlas told investors at its 2018 AGM on Wednesday.
Brenner is still a director of building materials company Boral Ltd, and some shareholders have called for her to quit that company’s board too. A Boral spokeswoman declined to comment.
“Shareholders have longer memories now. If a director had a problem or let them down in one board then it will have consequences for another boards,” said Vas Kolesnikoff, the Australian head of proxy adviser ISS.
Australia’s central bank issued a warning on Tuesday about broader impacts from the Royal Commission, saying revelations of misconduct in the banking sector could hurt house price growth and household spending.
Reporting by Paulina Duran in Sydney and Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates