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Responsible investment pioneer Angela Emslie steps down as chair at Australia’s HESTA

Former minister Nicola Roxon to take chair at A$46bn investor

Angela Emslie is stepping down as independent chair of A$46bn (€28.9bn) Australian super fund HESTA at the end of this year when her terms ends.

She will be succeeded by former Attorney General Nicola Roxon, who as Health Minister oversaw major health reform and introduced the world’s first plain packaging for tobacco products.

HESTA, the super fund for the health and community services sector, has over 860,000 members and has been a leader in tobacco divestment.

Roxon is currently Chair of Bupa Australia and New Zealand, and the Cancer Council Australia. She is also a Non-Executive Director at Dexus and Lifestyle Communities. She will step down from roles at the Accounting Professional and Ethical Standards Board and Victoria University. She will continue to serve on the PRI Board, and is currently a candidate in the open elections which will close later this month. Her submission for the elections says Hesta continues to support to her candidacy. She is also supported by Cbus.

Roxon said in a statement: “I have long admired HESTA for its leadership in responsible investment and stewardship, and its gutsy advocacy on issues that matter for members”.

Emslie has been a director of HESTA for more than 20 years and chair since 2010.

“I strongly believe that asset owners, as long term universal owners of capital responsible directly to our beneficiaries, are uniquely positioned to collectively drive responsible investment and promote a sustainable financial system,” she says in her candidate statement adds: “My extensive networks among Australian asset owners and managers coupled with HESTA’s ongoing leadership in responsible investment, affords me opportunities to be an active PRI ambassador.”

HESTA CEO Deb Blakey called her a “true pioneer in responsible investment” and “an inspiring leader and influential advocate for members and the industry fund sector”

“I have long admired HESTA for its leadership in responsible investment and stewardship” — Nicola Roxon

She added: “Angela leaves with HESTA enjoying the highest rating from all independent superannuation ratings agencies and with the Fund recognised as a global leader in responsible investment. It’s an outstanding legacy, which has helped set the fund up for long-term success in the years ahead.”

Emslie was named 2018 Trustee of the Year by the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST), where she was president from 2014-16, for her contribution to Australian pension funds. She is currently a director on the boards of asset consultant Frontier Advisors and Suicide Prevention Australia. She was previously a Director of CareSuper, Vision Super, VicSuper and AusFund.

Note: This article was updated to clarify that Emslie is still standing for PRI election with support from HESTA.