Statewide Super independent chair Juliet Brown will step down from December 31, 2016, to be succeeded by Australian Services Union (ASU) representative Ken Williams.

Brown announced her retirement in a letter to members in the fund’s annual report.

In her final letter to members as chair Brown congratulated Williams, praised her fellow directors, and said the fund was “in good hands for a successful future” under the leadership of chief executive Richard Nunn, who was appointed to the role in January, 2016.

“It has been a privilege to serve on the board for over a decade, initially as a director of Local Super and subsequently as a director of Statewide,” Brown said.

“The successful merger of these two iconic South Australian superannuation funds is an achievement that I, my fellow directors and Statewide staff can all be proud of.”

Brown is a former lawyer who has held the role of independent chair at the $6.5 billion Adelaide-based industry fund since July 1, 2012.

She was chief executive of South Australian law firm Thomson Playford (now Thomson Geer) from 1999 to 2004.

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees recently named Brown its trustee of the year 2016.

Her successor Williams is an existing member of the Statewide board who was appointed as an ASU (SA & NT branch) nominated representative. He is also chair of the ASX-listed Havilah Resources and a director of ASX-listed AWE Ltd.

Williams’ previous executive experience includes roles at Normandy Mining and Qantas Airways.

Statewide Super has chosen to promote a representative director to the chair’s role despite the ongoing, although as-yet-unsuccessful, push by the government to force all super funds to appoint a minimum one third of independent directors including an independent chair.

Following Brown’s departure the Statewide Super board will consist of 10 directors, including three appointed by employer group Business SA and seven appointed by various unions.

The fund is expected to appoint two new directors in the coming weeks.

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