The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) has recruited from Cbus to replace outgoing chief executive Gordon Hagart.
Louise Davidson will leave her current role as environmental, social and governance investment manager at Cbus to join ACSI on 27 April.
Speaking to InvestorDaily, Ms Davidson said the opportunity came out of the close working relationship between Cbus and ACSI.
“Cbus is a member of ACSI so I’ve worked closely with ACSI for eight years,” she said.
The understanding within super funds that they have an obligation to broader society when it comes to good stewardship of capital is growing, Ms Davidson said.
“There is going to be an increasing emphasis by super funds on active ownership of listed companies and ACSI has a really big role to play in that,” she said.
“ACSI already engages extensively with listed companies as well as providing proxy voting advice to its members … and the level that ACSI engages is at board level."
Ms Davidson said she believes very strongly in the power of collaboration – something that is evident in ACSI or the Investor Group on Climate Change (she is the secretary of the latter organisation).
Whereas a fund like Cbus typically owns no more than one per cent of the largest ASX-listed companies, the combined membership of ACSI typically makes up 10 per cent, she said.
The 31 Australian member super funds manage more than $400 billion in assets.
“That’s a pretty significant increase in your impact opportunity,” Ms Davidson said.
ACSI president Gerard Noonan said Ms Davidson is well known in the nation’s boardrooms.
“She’s determined to improve corporate governance in listed companies as well as encourage company boards and management to take more seriously their environmental and social impact,” Mr Noonan said.
“She will be a great asset to us and will continue Gordon’s impressive contribution to the responsible investment and sustainability debate in Australia."