Greg Combet has been named chair of the Future Fund Board of Guardians and is expected to commence his five-year term from mid-2024.
A former minister for climate change, industry, and innovation in the second Gillard administration, he has been chair of the Net Zero Economy Agency since July 2023.
Announcing the appointment in a press conference on Monday morning, Treasurer Jim Chalmers described Combet as “a person of extraordinary breadth and depth and character and experience”.
“He is the perfect appointment to take the Future Fund into the future. Greg will bring deep diverse experience and fresh leadership to the Future Fund,” he said.
The fund recently announced it has surpassed its annual return target to reach a record value of $211.9 billion after an investment return of 8 per cent added $15.6 billion to the Future Fund in 2023.
Alongside his political career, Combet has extensive experience in investment and superannuation. He first joined the board of Industry Super Australia (ISA) in 2017 and was appointed chair in 2018, seeing the group through the Hayne royal commission and the COVID-19 pandemic. He departed after five years to join the Net Zero Economy Agency.
Similarly, he also served as chair at industry super fund-owned asset manager IFM Investors for a decade until his departure in 2023.
Before he takes on the role, the Treasurer said Macquarie Group veteran Mary Reemst would perform the role of acting chair, beginning on 4 February. She joined the Future Fund board in October 2023.
It is also understood prolific industry figures Rosemary Vilgan, former chief executive of QSuper Group and current chair of Commonwealth Bank Officers Superannuation Corporation, and Nicola Wakefield-Evans, chair of 30 per cent Club Australia, will start five-year terms as part-time members of the board.
On these appointments, Chalmers said: “It will increase the representation of women on the Future Fund, and continue the government’s really strong track record of appointing women to senior roles in Australia’s most important economic and financial institutions.”
Vilgan and Wakefield-Evans will commence in their roles on 4 February and 1 March, respectively.
As chair of the Future Fund, Mr Combet succeeds Peter Costello, who has served on the board for some 14 years.
He was first appointed to the fund in December 2009, before being named acting chairman in January 2014, and chairman with effect from February 2014 for a five-year term.
He was then reappointed as chairman for another five-year term from February 2019.
Chalmers also paid tribute to Costello for his time at the helm of the fund.
“I want to thank Peter Costello for his role in establishing the Future Fund, but also for his leadership and his contribution to the board over the past 14 years,” the Treasurer said.
Additionally, he thanked outgoing board members John Poynton and John Fraser for their contributions to the success of the Fund.