The annuities company has today announced Brian Benari’s decision to retire as managing director and CEO.
Mr Benari will retire as CEO and step down from the Challenger board in January 2019 and will work with incoming CEO Richard Howes over a six month period to ensure a seamless transition.
Mr Howes has held a number of senior executive roles at Challenger since joining the company in 2003 including chief executive of Challenger’s life business and chief investment officer. He currently leads Challenger’s distribution, product and marketing team, responsible for the company’s product design, distribution, sales and marketing activities.
Prior to joining Challenger Mr Howes held senior positions with leading financial services groups in Australia and the USA, including Macquarie Bank and Bankers Trust.
Challenger's chairman, Peter Polson, said: "Brian has led Challenger through an immensely successful period of growth, establishing the company as the clear leader in retirement incomes and developing one of the fastest growing active fund managers in the country. On behalf of the Board I would like to thank him for his extraordinary contribution over the past 15 years.”
Mr Benari joined Challenger in 2003 and was appointed chief financial officer and chief operating officer in 2008. He has served as managing director and CEO since February 2012.
“Since his appointment as CEO in 2012, Brian has overseen the transformation of the business with the company more than tripling its market capitalisation to nearly $7 billion today. Similarly, assets under management has also almost tripled. This has delivered a total shareholder return over this time of 209 per cent, compared to the ASX200 result of 95 per cent," Mr Polson said.
“Coming out of the global financial crisis, Challenger embarked on a strategy to focus the business on re-establishing Australia’s annuities market. Under Brian’s leadership the company has achieved this ambitious goal.
“Brian’s effective leadership style is well demonstrated through the quality of his executive team and leading employee engagement. The ultimate evidence of this is the internal succession for his role, enabling a seamless transition and maintaining the momentum in the business.
“Brian leaves Challenger in a very strong position, well placed to continue to deliver growing returns into the future.”
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