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Ken Henry announces departure from ASX board

Ken Henry announces departure from ASX board

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The former Treasury secretary and NAB chairman will retire later this year.

Ken Henry has announced his plan to retire as a non-executive director of stock exchange operator ASX after more than nine years on the board.

In a market announcement on Wednesday, ASX said that Dr Henry would not seek re-election once his term expires at its next annual general meeting on 28 September.

“Ken has been an outstanding director of ASX and brought formidable intellect and insight to the governance and oversight of our company,” said ASX chairman Damian Roche.

“Few can match his knowledge of economics and public policy, or his commitment to broader social and environmental issues.”

Dr Henry, who served as the secretary of the Department of the Treasury between 2001 to 2011, originally joined the ASX board in February 2013 and is a member of its audit and risk committee as well as its nomination committee.

He also previously served on the board of NAB and was appointed chairman of the bank in 2015 before resigning in February 2019 amid the fallout of the Hayne royal commission.

Later that year, Dr Henry was re-elected to the ASX board after surviving a protest vote that saw 83.2 per cent of votes cast in favour of his return.

“On behalf of all of our stakeholders, I thank and congratulate Ken on his service; not only to ASX but to the Australian community more widely,” said Mr Roche.

ASX names new director

Alongside the departure of Dr Henry, ASX also announced the appointment of Heather Smith as a non-executive director effective immediately.

Dr Smith has spent 20 years in the Australian public service, including as secretary of the Department of Communications and the Arts from 2016 to 2017 and secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science from 2017 to 2020.

She has previously held senior roles in the departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Treasury, as well as the Office of National Intelligence and first began her career at the Reserve Bank in 1988.

“ASX is very fortunate to have attracted a director of the high calibre of Dr Heather Smith. She brings to our board considerable expertise in public policy, innovation, national security and economic reform,” said Mr Roche.

“These are areas of great relevance to ASX as we enter a new and exciting phase in our development, re-energised under fresh executive leadership.”

Dr Smith holds a PhD in Economics from the Australian National University (ANU) and is a professor at the ANU National Security College. She has served as a non-executive director of Challenger since last year. 

“Heather’s deep knowledge of government and the public sector, complemented by her recent board experience, is an ideal blend for ASX, which operates at the heart of Australia’s financial markets, managing multiple stakeholders and regulatory expectations,” Mr Roche said.

Earlier this week, ASX published a consultation paper on its approach to market management following November 2020’s stock market outage.