The face of corporate governance advice to many of Australia’s largest institutional investors, Dean Paatsch, has departed the consultancy he co-founded six years ago.
Paatsch said his decision to leave ISS, which influences the shareholder voting of members of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors as well as many large funds managers, had been well-telegraphed internally and that business continuity would be seamless.
The Australian governance research team will continue to be led by Martin Lawrence and Simon Connal, while Alyssa Thai will step up to take on Paatsch’s client service responsibilities.
Paatsch joined ISS in 2005 when it acquired Proxy Australia, a governance advisory business he co-founded. ISS was itself acquired by RiskMetrics in 2007 and then by MSCI earlier this year.
The natural next step for Paatsch – a senior role within MSCI proper – was not for him.
“I’m not a big company type of guy,” said Paatsch, who prior to his proxy advice work was known in the industry as an early executive of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees.
Paatsch said he was leaving ISS on a high, having recently helped complete the firm’s report on capital raisings, which skewered the opaque practices of companies and their investment banks, which often disadvantaged retail and institutional investors alike.
Paatsch said he would take a sabbatical before considering a return to the investment industry. In one of the more entertaining notices of departure to have crossed I&T News’ desk, the governance guru vowed to finish rebuilding the front fence of his Melbourne home, and to “spend the forthcoming AGM season trying to swim 1000 very slow laps at the Brunswick Pool”.