Super’s biggest people moves in Q3 2023

3 October 2023
| By Jasmine Siljic |
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With a flurry of C-level executive departures and hires in Q3 2023, Super Review has compiled the most noteworthy people moves in the superannuation industry over the last three months.

This year’s third quarter saw numerous CEOs depart and join new funds, amongst other notable executive and board hires. 

July

The start of Q3 began with Mercer Australia’s appointment of three new non-executive directors to its fiduciary boards. This included the appointment of Jim Miller to the Mercer Superannuation board from 1 July. 

Equip Super was also busy with board appointments, as the fund welcomed Julian Widdup as member director on its nine-strong board. He had 20 years’ experience including four years on the board of Australian Catholic Superannuation from 2019–23 and seven years as a director at Palisade Investment Partners.

NGS Super also appointed Ben Facer as deputy chief executive and Philippa Minney as chief risk officer to strengthen its leadership team. The announcement followed Natalie Previtera being appointed in June as permanent CEO after holding the role in an interim capacity for several months. 

Finally, Iress appointed James Sinclair to head up growth and partnerships in its expanded super leadership team.

August

The month began with sovereign wealth fund Future Fund’s appointment of Ben Samild as its new chief investment officer. He will take over from chief executive, Raphael Arndt, who has been carrying out the role in an acting capacity since last June.

A day later, Super SA’s chief executive, Dascia Bennett, stepped down from the role after five years. She commenced as CEO in December 2017 from a role as head of customer at NGS Super and had also held roles at Rest and AustralianSuper.

In the same week, Cbus Super appointed Leigh Gavin, former head of investment model design at AustralianSuper, to lead its portfolio strategies. He will help drive the $85 billion fund’s new five-year investment strategy, through which it aims to internalise more than half its assets under management.

Colonial First State (CFS) also appointed two investment professionals from AustralianSuper and MLC Asset Management. Notably, John Iles joined CFS as head of cash management and derivatives, arriving from AustralianSuper where he was a portfolio manager looking after equities implementation.

September

It was announced that Australian Retirement Trust’s (ART) chief executive, Bernard Reilly, is to depart the fund in February 2024. The fund has commenced a global executive search for a new CEO and thanked Reilly for his ‘incredible legacy’ in leading the QSuper and Sunsuper merger which formed ART.

Two weeks later, ART also bid farewell to its deputy chief investment officer, Charles Woodhouse, who held the role from February 2022. Prior to the merger, Woodhouse had been with QSuper for over 12 years.

Funds SA, the $40 billion investment corporation owned by the Government of South Australia, appointed John Piteo as chief executive in September. This concluded a seven-month search after Jo Townsend, who worked as CEO for eight years, announced in February that she would step down later this year. 

It was also announced that Norman Zhang, chief investment officer at legalsuper, is set to depart the fund after three and a half years to pursue a new role. Legalsuper CEO, Luke Symons, confirmed Zhang will be leaving in December to pursue a new role with investment manager Koda Capital.

Rest’s chief financial officer, Kulwant Singh-Pangly, also stepped down from his role after nearly two and a half years at the $75 billion fund. He joined in 2021 following the separation of Rest’s finance, and people & change functions as a result of group executive Trevor Evans’ retirement.
 

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