Incoming MetLife Australia CEO Richard Nunn (Photo: Supplied)
Incoming MetLife Australia CEO Richard Nunn (Photo: Supplied)

Richard Nunn has resigned unexpectedly as chief executive of the Adelaide-based industry fund after being poached by MetLife Australia, where he will head up operations in early May.

It is understood that Nunn’s replacement will be announced in the next few weeks.

“With an established, board-approved succession plan in place, the board has commenced its necessary processes and due diligence in regards to the appointment of the next CEO,” Statewide Super stated.

Vince Watt, MetLife Australia’s chief financial officer, will continue as acting chief executive at the insurer until Nunn comes on board on May 1.

MetLife is Statewide Super’s insurance partner. In the 12 months to September 30, 2018, the US-based insurer’s in-force group premiums surged by 11.8 per cent to $721 million DEXX&R data shows.

That still lags Australia’s two largest players – AIA Australia, which has $.9 billion of in-force group premiums, and TAL with $1.7 billion worth of in-force premiums.

Nunn is a senior figure in the financial services industry. He has held management roles in National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, IOOF and AXA. He will fill a gap left by former MetLife Australia chief executive Deanne Stewart, who had been with the insurer since 2014 but left to replace Michael Dwyer as chief executive of First State Super when he stepped down in November after 14 years.

MetLife Australia chair Geoff Brunsdon said of the appointment: “His [Nunn’s] deep financial services experience and proven ability to deliver growth make him a great fit for MetLife.”

Commenting on the MetLife business, Brunsdon added: “It is an exciting time for MetLife in Australia. Richard, and our executive leadership team, are well positioned to capitalise on what we have already achieved.

“MetLife continues to gather momentum in Australia, recently expanding into the retail market and winning the multimillion-dollar Tasplan tender. I am confident Richard will continue to build on that momentum and deliver our vision of giving people the fastest, easiest and most caring life insurance experience.”

Statewide Super chair Ken Williams thanked Nunn for his three years of service at the fund.

“The organisation has been transformed under his leadership – we’ve experienced positive membership growth and increased funds under management, delivered consistently strong investment performance, and established a strong, capable and cohesive Leadership team,” Williams said.

Elizabeth Fry has been a financial journalist for more than 25 years and has written for a number of publications, including CFO, The Financial Times and The Australian Financial Review.