Kinetic Super has appointed Jodie Leonard as an independent director to its board, concurrently meeting two of its objectives; increased gender diversity, and getting ahead of proposed legislation to have one-third independents.

Gender diversity has been advocated by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI), with a recently commissioned study showing a doubling (to 20 per cent) of female representation on boards in the past five years. Reports suggest skilled and suitably diverse boards make for better governed companies, and, as such, higher value investments over the long term.

Draft legislation before parliament is proposing new governance rules in 2016 that require funds to have a minimum of one-third of their directors be independent. Some boards are now starting to plan for this progression, and Kinetic Super has made a start in this direction.

Board chair, Frank Gullone, said Leonard’s extensive and diverse experience would add another dimension to an already powerful board structure.

“I welcome Jodie to the Kinetic Super board and look forward to working with her to continue our strategy of delivering strong investment returns for our members.”

Leonard will replace John Plummer who is retiring following the completion of his second and final term.

Gullone added: “I’d also like to thank our retiring board member, John Plummer, for his many years of dedicated service. John has been instrumental in helping to steer the Fund through continued growth over the past few years and we appreciate his valuable contribution.”

An experienced non-executive director and management consultant, Leonard is a formally trained strategic marketing specialist. Her corporate career has included senior and executive positions at General Electric, Nine Network Australia, British Airways, Telstra Corporation, Colgate Palmolive and Unilever.

She has worked across Australia, the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Asia.

Leonard’s board experience spans the private, government and not-for-profit sectors and she is currently a non-executive director of Beyond Bank Australia and Racing Victoria Limited. She is also a member of the Beyond Bank Australia Risk Committee and chairs the Beyond Bank Australia Foundation.

A graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), Leonard also has a Bachelor of Business with a Major in Marketing. She successfully established Challenger Consulting and consults for corporate advisory firm Saxon Klein and is a subject matter expert for AT Kearney.