Don Russell

The $38 billion NSW State Super will experience major change at the top, with its CEO and chairman scheduled to exit.



Chris Durack, the fund’s CEO, has told the board he will leave the fund in October after succeeding Don McLean in the role in early 2009, confirmed chairman Don Russell.

In a further development, Russell, who was recently appointed to head up the Federal Government’s Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, will also leave the fund to undertake the new role.

Russell told I&T News that the board had begun its search for a new CEO, but that Durack would stay until October to finish a reform program he had been appointed to roll out.

“I will stay on at [NSW] State Super on an interim basis to manage the transition, which will also involve managing the search for a new CEO, because Chris Durack has agreed to stay on until October,” Russell said.

“It is appropriate that I stay on as chairman in the interim, because to lose a chairman and a CEO in close succession would have put an unreasonable burden on the organisation.”

He will also oversee the search for a new chairman, but would not be drawn on the timing of his exit from NSW State Super, which is the trustee of four closed NSW public sector superannuation funds.

Russell said he will also resign from his position as chairman of the investment committee of $2.8 billion industry fund LUCRF Super, and his directorship of State Super Financial Services.

Durack was appointed to the predominantly defined benefit fund in the wake of legislative changes in 2008, which allowed it to boost the remuneration of key staff to compete for top talent in the industry.

Russell said the fund had chosen Durack because of his investment background, as well as his leadership skills, and that the fund would look for a candidate with a similar skill-set.

Durack had previously held senior positions at Challenger and Perpetual, and had experience as an asset consultant with Mercer and Towers Perrin.

Russell said Durack would “very much remain a hands-on CEO” until he leaves in October.

NSW State Super is also looking to bolster its in-house investment team. “We are on track to increase the resources of the investment team, they were always very lean and we are working our way to add to resources there,” Russell said.

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