Sonya Sawtell-Rickson will leave QIC to take on the newly expanded chief investment officer role at $37 billion industry super fund HESTA.

HESTA announced Sawtell-Rickson’s appointment, effective July 24, 2017, on Monday, May 8, 2017.

In January, the fund for health and community service workers announced it was rolling out a five-year investment strategy that included the insourcing of a portion of the assets.

In her role as CIO, Sawtell-Rickson will lead the internal team in asset and risk allocation, and manager selection. She will also have oversight of HESTA’s total portfolio of investments.

“Sonya brings outstanding investment experience and leadership across all aspects of portfolio management and her insights will help drive innovation and continuing excellence across the spectrum of our investment activities,” HESTA chief executive Debby Blakey said in a statement.

Sawtell-Rickson has more than 16 years of investment experience and was previously an investment director at Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC). There, she played a leading role in the global multi-asset team, advising clients on investment strategy, overseeing portfolio management processes and activities across a broad range of traditional and alternative asset classes for portfolios in excess of $40 billion.

Previously, Sawtell-Rickson was general manager, investment services at the default super fund for Queensland Government employees, QSuper.

HESTA’s incumbent CIO, Rob Fowler, will remain with the fund in the newly created role of head of investment execution, with responsibility for investment monitoring and performance, and environmental, social and governance (ESG) policy.

Last month, the fund announced former Future Fund boss Mark Burgess as the head of its new investment committee. He joined as an independent non-executive director, with responsibility for the governance of the new strategy.

HESTA’s default option has a return target of CPI + 4 per cent a year, over a 10-year period.

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