The board of the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), whose members are responsible for more than $79 trillion in assets, has announced the appointment of its first Australian board representative.
Debby Blakey will take up the position, serving on the board alongside her responsibilities as chief executive of HESTA.
HESTA has been a member of ICGN for a number of years, sharing values of creating improved prospects for its members, with both convinced of the deep-rooted benefits of good governance in investing.
Ms Blakely indicated that her appointment highlighted the importance of the superannuation industry in achieving this.
“ICGN’s mission is absolutely critical to ensure that companies and investors alike act with a shared responsibility for improving the sustainability of our global markets and economies,” Ms Blakey said.
“HESTA is committed to the principles of active ownership and responsible investing, and I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to the work of ICGN on a global scale”.
Ms Blakely will serve on the board alongside new chair Henry Jones, president of the CalPERS in the US. Other board members include directors Seiji Kawazoe, a senior stewardship officer at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management in Tokyo, and Luz Rodriguez, a corporate governance professional at the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association.
Ms Blakely has expressed confidence that she will be able to bring her unique leadership from HESTA to the fore in this new position, helping ICGN to build a more sustainable global market.
“Enhancing global governance standards helps to better manage systemic risks and improve market behaviour that can lead to stronger, long-term investment returns for members and more sustainable economic growth over time,” Ms Blakey said.
“HESTA’s leadership in responsible investment benefits members through improved long-term investment performance and opportunities like this to develop deep relationships with leading global investors.”
HESTA under Ms Blakely has been vocal in promoting more equal governance within the Australian markets, notably urging ASX companies to work on reducing the gender disparity in leadership earlier this year.
Alongside her appointment to the ICGN board, Ms Blakey was recently announced as the new president of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI).
She also sits on the board of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia Ltd (ASFA) and is a Workplace Gender Equality Agency pay equity ambassador.
The news comes alongside HESTA's appointment of Tim Mitchell-Adams to the newly created role of chief growth officer on Thursday.
Growth has been a key focus for HESTA with Mr Mitchell-Adams's appointment following the hire of Joe Agius as general manager, new business and growth enablement.
“As part of our new three-year strategy, HESTA is embarking on an exciting new era of growth,” Ms Blakey said.
“Tim brings a strong track record of building and leading dynamic teams that deliver new business growth in competitive environments and across new markets.”
“HESTA continues to build on our capability across the business. Having Joe and Tim join our leadership team will enhance our ability to deliver strong member growth that provides benefits of scale to members and deepens relationships with our partners”.
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