Former Federal Health Minister and Attorney-General Nicola Roxon will be the new independent chairwoman of HESTA from the end of this year.
Since leaving politics five years ago, Ms Roxon has had a number of key board appointments. She is the chairwoman of Bupa Australia and New Zealand, and the Cancer Council Australia.
She is also a non-executive director at Dexus and Lifestyle Communities. Ms Roxon is the Chairwoman of the Accounting Professional and Ethical Standards Board and an Adjunct Professor within the College of Law and Justice at Victoria University, but will be stepping down from both these roles to focus on the HESTA chair position.
“I have long admired HESTA for its leadership in responsible investment and stewardship, and its gutsy advocacy on issues that matter for members,” Ms Roxon said.
“I am excited to be joining HESTA at this important time for the superannuation industry more broadly.”
In 2013, Ms Roxon was the first woman in Australia to be appointed Attorney-General. She is well known in the national health sector following her time as Federal Health Minister, where she oversaw major health reform and introduced world-first plain packaging for tobacco products.
HESTA CEO, Debby Blakey, said she was delighted to be welcoming Ms Roxon to the role.
“Her rich experience in health and governance will be a huge asset as we continue to focus on being leaders in the superannuation sector and making a real difference to the financial future of our members,’’ she said.
Current HESTA chairwoman, Angela Emslie, will step down from the role on December 31 2018. She has been a director of the fund for more than 20 years and chairwoman since 2010.
Ms Blakey paid tribute to Ms Emslie’s enormous contribution.
“Angela is such a big part of the unique board culture at HESTA that’s so strongly imbued with the values of the health and community sector and is deeply dedicated to our members’ best interests,” Ms Blakey said.
“A true pioneer in responsible investment, Angela has been an inspiring leader and influential advocate for members and the industry fund sector. Angela’s also been an incredible support and mentor to so many in the industry, including me, for which I am enormously grateful.
“Angela leaves with HESTA enjoying the highest rating from all independent superannuation ratings agencies and with the Fund recognised as a global leader in responsible investment.
“It’s an outstanding legacy, which has helped set the fund up for long-term success in the years ahead.”
Ms Emslie said HESTA was a “very special organisation”.
“I feel deeply privileged to have served our members,’’ she said. “I believe we are delivering on our mission to make a real difference to our members’ financial futures and I know Nicola will make an outstanding contribution to the HESTA Board and continue this focus.”
The 2018 Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) Trustee of the Year, Ms Emslie is on the Board of UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment. Ms Emslie has also served on a range of industry fund and related boards for more than 20 years and is currently a director on the boards of asset consultant Frontier Advisors and Suicide Prevention Australia.
Ms Emslie served as a Director of AIST from 2002 to 2016, including as Deputy President from 2009 to 2014 and President from 2014 to 2016, where she was a strong supporter of the equal representative trustee governance model.
“On behalf of HESTA’s members, employees and management, I’d like to thank Angela for her many years of committed and inspiring service on our board and beyond,” Ms Blakey said.
“Her passion for our shared vision of a stronger financial future for HESTA members and a better world for them to retire into has been at the core of her role as chairwoman. We wish her all the best for the future.”