VicSuper has appointed Wayne Kayler-Thomson as newly-elected chair of the superannuation fund’s board, replacing Christine Stewart who moves into the deputy chair position.

Essentially, Kayler-Thomson has switched jobs with Stewart since he has served as deputy chair at VicSuper since January 2017 and has been a long serving director of the fund since 2009.

Stewart has also been a board member for ten years.

Kayler-Thomson’s appointment follows the recent announcement of a merger between VicSuper and First State Super to create Australia’s second largest profit-to-member super fund, managing $120 billion in retirement savings for more than 1.1 million members.

The two superannuation funds have entered into the due diligence phase of merger discussions and expect to make a final decision on the tie-up by the end of the year.

The deal will see the combined group inching closer in size to AustralianSuper which manages $165 billion of members’ assets and is Australia’s largest super fund.

“We’re pleased to welcome Wayne as our new chair at such a pivotal time for our fund” said Michael Dundon, chief executive of VicSuper. “He’s an accomplished professional with extensive experience and a strong understanding of the Fund and the needs of our members and employers.

“Wayne is committed to continuing to deliver great outcomes for our members and has a key role in leading our ongoing merger discussions with First State Super. I would also like to thank Christine for her dedicated contribution to VicSuper as the outgoing chair, and look forward to working with her in her role as deputy chair.”

Kayler-Thomson brings extensive leadership experience in the private and public sectors. He has worked in the manufacturing and tourism industries, with a range of clients in the corporate, not-for-profit and public sector at national, state and regional levels, in addition to having considerable experience as a director across a range of boards.

He is currently the deputy chancellor of Victoria University and chairman of Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism.

Kayler-Thomson added, ‘It’s an exciting time for VicSuper and I look forward to continuing to work with the board and management at this critical time to shape the future of the fund as we continue to deliver positive outcomes for our members and employers.”

Once the merger between First State and VicSuper is finalised, First State’s current independent chair, Neil Cochrane, will be appointed as chair of the merged fund.

The new board will continue to reflect equal member and employer representation with one independent chair and 14 directors four of whom would be from VicSuper’s nominating bodies.

By June 2022, the plan is to reduce the size of the board to include an independent chair and ten directors, two of whom would be from the Melbourne superannuation fund’s nominating bodies.

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.
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