After four-and-a-half years as m.d. of the Australian Securities Exchange, Elmer Funke Kupper steps down
The announcement last week that Australian federal police are investigating allegations of a Tabcorp bribery attempt to secure Cambodian online gambling approval has been followed by the news that former Tabcorp chief executive and current m.d. of the Australian Securities Exchange, Elmer Funke Kupper, has resigned.
Funke Kupper wanted to "direct his full focus to the investigations which may be made," ASX chairman Rick Holliday-Smith said in a public statement Monday.
Holliday-Smith will act as executive chairman while ASX looks for Funke Kupper's replacement. Funke Kupper has been with ASX for the past four-and-a-half years as managing director.
He headed Tabcorp between 2007 and 2011 prior to joining ASX, and there have been allegations that under his stewardship the Australian betting company in 2010 made a questionable payment of A$200,000 as it sought an online gambling licence in Cambodia.
Analysts generally felt that Funke Kupper had done the right thing; one commented:
"Corporate governance is a big thing and people need to have faith and trust in the market. It makes sense for the ASX to let him go if that's what he needed to do."
Funke Kupper's departure at ASX comes as consolidation among global exchanges accelerates. Last week, Deutsche Boerse AG agreed to acquire London Stock Exchange Group plc, a deal that may kick off a bidding war. The merge could create the world's biggest exchange operator by revenue and second-largest by market value.
UPDATE: In a subsequent announcement Tabcorp revealed that Funke Kupper has been granted leave of absence from its board of directors until the completion of the investigation by the Australian Federal Police into Tabcorp's activities in relation to a business opportunity in Cambodia in 2009/2010.
"The company appreciates Mr Funke Kupper's request which is in accordance with the highest professional and governance standards," the brief statement concludes.
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