Gordon Hagart, who previously worked at the Future Fund and United Nations, will join the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) as chief executive in mid-November.
He is replacing Ann Byrne, who will leave the Melbourne-based non-profit organisation next month after five years.
Previously Hagart spent four years at the country’s $100 billion Future Fund as head of environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk management, within its investment team. Part of his role was to ensure that managers, funds and companies the Future Fund invested in were in compliance with ESG, a Future Fund spokesman says.
The sovereign wealth fund has already started a search for Hagart’s replacement, the spokesman notes, adding that in addition to having a background in ESG and risk management, the ideal candidate will have investment experience.
David Neal, the Future Fund’s chief investment officer, adds: “It’s an opportunity to be involved in big, long-term money run by a small team with access to leading investors – including through our external managers – and to add to a long-term, global, multi-asset portfolio.”
As the search has only just started, the spokesman was unable to provide a timeline for when the Future Fund hoped to identify Hagart’s replacement.
ACSI represents more than 30 industry and government funds in the non-for-profit sector, which combined manage over A$350 billion ($328 billion) in retirement savings for six million Australians.
Hagart spent the past four years at the Future Fund in Melbourne. He previously worked at the United Nations in Geneva, where he helped create the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, a division that aims to shed light on sustainability issues for global institutional investors. The PRI also encourages investors to consider ESG when making investment and ownership decisions.
Hagart tells AsianInvestor that during his time at the UN, he tried to “debunk the myth that fiduciary duties prevented one from thinking of governance and the environment”.
“Gordon was instrumental in drafting the principles for responsible investing when he worked at the UN,” adds Gerard Noonan, ACSI president. “He’s clearly got the reservoir of skill and knowledge on these issues.”
Hagart started his career as an investment banker at Greenhill & Co in London. He later worked as an investment consultant in Zurich.
After leaving the ACSI in October, Byrne will continue to serve on the board of Oxfam Australia, although an ACSI spokeswoman said at the time that Byrne’s intention was to stop working full-time.