RIAA completes CEO search with trans-Tasman appointments

23 November 2023
| By Jasmine Siljic |
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The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) has announced the appointment of two co-chief executives, following the departure of Simon O’Connor after over a decade.

Estelle Parker and Dean Hegarty have been jointly named co-CEOs as they take over upon  O’Connor’s departure in early December.

The two appointments mark a crucial step for RIAA with dual chief executive representation in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. 

The CEO’s decision to step down was first announced in June after more than 10 years at RIAA since joining in 2013.

Both Parker and Hegarty are currently executive managers at the organisation with RIAA describing both their leadership as ‘instrumental’ to its growth and impact. 

Ross Piper, chair at RIAA, said he is pleased to welcome the two highly skilled co-executives.

“Estelle and Dean bring deep market knowledge, strong program delivery and commercial skills, as well as having demonstrated their leadership and expertise in responsible investment across our markets,” he commented.

“Building on their deep existing relationships with our members and across other partners and government, Estelle and Dean's collaboration is envisioned to provide solid momentum for advancing RIAA’s mission and strategy during a pivotal time for the sector's professionalisation.”

The chairman added that Parker and Hegarty are ideally positioned for the co-CEO model due to their strong working relationship and shared values.

Moreover, both executive managers are driven to support RIAA’s overarching mission of advancing financial systems to align with economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Since joining in June 2021, Parker has led the expansion and growth of RIAA’s certification program. 

She has also overseen important external engagements, such as convening the official Australasian Consultation Group for the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD).

Hegarty joined in October 2020 and is RIAA’s first New Zealand-based executive. He has played a critical role in strengthening its presence in the country alongside Australia. 

Commenting on her appointment, Parker said: “I am absolutely thrilled to take on this role, alongside my colleague, Dean Hegarty. We are both entirely committed to RIAA as an organisation, and what we can achieve together with RIAA’s large, growing and influential member base, as well as the various First Nations, environment and civil society organisations RIAA partners with.”

Hegarty also described: “It’s an incredible privilege to have the opportunity to lead an organisation like RIAA. We have a community of passionate members and with the support of our dedicated staff and board, I cannot wait to continue the work collectively driving RIAA’s mission. 

“It is especially exciting to have the chance to serve in the role alongside my colleague Estelle Parker, who I have been lucky enough to work closely with and learn so much from over the past three years.”

He added that his appointment will provide a stronger voice for the New Zealand-based RIAA community.

“The co-CEO model will allow us to harness and support more of the aspects that are uniquely New Zealand.” 

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