Michael Baldwin is stepping down as chief executive of the Funds Executive Association Limited (FEAL) after 12 years with the organisation.

In his time as chief executive, Baldwin established the superannuation industry’s first master’s degree in leadership, in partnership with Melbourne Business School, founded a mentoring initiative and several international scholarships.

He is leaving to take up a commercial role at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

Baldwin said the importance of FEAL would continue to grow as assets under management in superannuation equal and then surpass the influence of the Australian banking system.

“The visibility of super funds and their executives will grow, and it is here that FEAL has a role to play in promoting great leadership.”

One feature of Baldwin’s role has been resisting any temptation to issue policy statements.

“We have tried to defer this to other associations. FEAL has never been a lobbying organisation,” he said. “Our role is to support the executives in the industry and promote great leadership.”

Joanna Davison, who has held senior positions at Colonial First State Global Asset Management and Russell Investments and sits on the advisory board of Investment Magazine, is to step in as interim chief executive when Baldwin leaves at the end of October.

In the meantime, the board of FEAL will search for a permanent replacement.

“Michael has made an enormous contribution to FEAL over the past 12 years, and leaves the association in a very healthy position,” said FEAL chair Neil Cochrane. “Joanna has been a valued friend and associate of FEAL for many years and brings extensive knowledge, industry networks and experience in stakeholder management.”