Sharon Hicks, chief investment officer of GESB, will leave the $12 billion Perth-based superannuation fund on March 2.

Hicks told GESB chairman John Langoulant before Christmas that she wanted to leave the fund, says Howard Rosario, who was appointed chief executive officer on 30 January 2012.

Her responsibilities for GESB’s investment strategy will be covered by senior investment strategist Steve McKenna until a new CIO is appointed.

Hicks joined GESB in August 2000 as an investment strategist and succeeded Paul Edmondson as CIO in July 2007. The fund’s “Balanced Conservative” investment option returned net 1.2 per cent each year since its 31 May 2007 inception until 31 January 2012, a period in which Hicks was GESB’s acting or official CIO. The option favours Australian and international equities, diversified fixed interest, government bonds and cash but also invests in property and private equity.

During her tenure, Hicks expanded the fund’s investment team from two to seven people. Hires included McKenna, a former executive at hedge fund-of-funds manager Everest Babcock & Brown, and Bill Dwyer, former manager of investments at the $4 billion NGS Super.

McKenna joined the fund in 2009 and is responsible for its investments in fixed income, cash and private equity. Rosario was CEO of the $3 billion Westscheme until it merged with the $43 billion AustralianSuper on 30 June 2011.


Sams leaves UniSuper

In a separate development, UniSuper’s head of fixed income Dennis Sams left the fund in December 2011 to manage investments for the $6 billion Australia Post Superannuation Scheme (APSS).

He takes the role vacated by Stephen Milburn-Pyle, former manager of investments at Melbourne-based APSS, who has been promoted, say people familiar with the matter.

At UniSuper, Sams oversaw a $5 billion fixed income portfolio and conducted investment research. Fixed income specialist Nick Footner has taken his funds management responsibilities, says Terry McCredden, chief executive officer at the $29.8 billion Melbourne-based fund.

The APSS could not be reached for comment.

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