Local Government Super (LGS) has named former Zurich Financial Services Australia boss David Smith its new chief executive.
The $10 billion Sydney-based superannuation fund for local government employees made the announcement on Tuesday September 5, 2017.
It comes just two months after the fund promoted director Katherine O’Regan to the role of chair, meaning the last few months of 2017 are set to be busy for the fund as the new leadership team settles in.
O’Regan, a former Liberal Party councillor and deputy mayor of Woollahra as well as senior state government staffer, replaced Craig Peate who remains an LGS director after stepping down as chair following the completion of his set two-year term.
Smith replaces long-serving LGS chief executive Peter Lambert, who stepped down on March 31. LGS chief governance officer and company secretary Donna Heffernan has been acting in the top job in the interim.
Immediately prior to joining LGS Smith spent just under 12 months focusing on Equip Corporate Advisory, a management consultancy he co-founded in November 2016. Prior to that he served four years as chief executive of speciality insurer and reinsurer Axis Specialty Australia.
However, he is perhaps best known in the local industry from his five years as the chief executive of Zurich Financial Services Australia from 2006 to 2011.
Smith is also currently the chair of charitable medical research foundation the Children’s Cancer Institute.
O’Regan said his appointment at LGS followed a rigorous search process.
“The board have chosen David for his track record in financial services, fit with the fund’s values and ability to deliver on the strategy,” she said. “I am confident he shares our passion for the best possible retirement outcomes for members, and that this will remain at the heart of all decisions. David’s C-suite experience brings additional capability to LGS and its members as we enter the next stage of growth.”
During Lambert and Peate’s tenure, alongside the leadership of chief investment officer Craig Turnbull, LGS built a strong reputation as fund with a strong focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles.
Around half of the $10 billion in compulsory retirement savings LGS manages on behalf of around 90,000 current and former local government employees is invested in responsible investment strategies.
In April, the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) Global Climate 500 Index, which assesses the world’s 500 largest asset owners, ranked LGS as the world’s best in disclosing climate risks that might affect retirement savings and other long-term investments.
Smith said he was committed to leading LGS to further develop and evolve this investment approach. “I look forward to working with the LGS leadership team and the board,” he said.