QIC’s chief executive officer Doug McTaggart says he has no plans to hang up his boots after he retires from the Australian sovereign wealth fund next year.

The fund’s chairman Peter Young revealed recently that McTaggart would step down on June 30, 2012, after 14 years at the helm. Recruitment firm Korn Ferry has been appointed to undertake a global search for a successor.

But rather than a straight split, QIC has said it plans to leverage McTaggart’s industry experience in an advisory capacity after the end of his tenure.

“The board wants me to maintain a connection and to continue to work on some of the relationships we have built up over the years,” confirms McTaggart. “I am available to maintain some sort of continuity, but it depends on what my successor and what the board want.”

Having been appointed in 1998, McTaggart will be 59 by the time he exits and says he feels it will be time to go by then. “I have been pondering it for a while,” he notes. “As the organisation has evolved and matured, with the strategies we have put in place over the last couple of years, it just seemed to be the right time.”

But he says he has no plans to stop working. “I have had three careers in my working life. I don’t plan at this stage to hang up my boots at all, but perhaps to do something different.

“I am committed to working with QIC through to next June. I am not sure I want another chief executive role. I would prefer to take on more of a consulting/board kind of role in future.”

McTaggart notes he will not be involved in the hiring process to find a successor, whom many observers expect to be external. Speaking objectively, he notes that international experience would be a plus given QIC’s expanding aspirations.

However, he adds: “QIC is becoming a global firm, but fund management is really a people business. Knowing how to attract and maintain good teams that themselves have a global focus, and keeping those pieces in place, I think that is a more important consideration. If I was looking for a replacement, that is what I would be looking for.”

Since its inception in 1991, QIC has grown to become Australia’s fourth largest institutional fund manager with A$60.2 billion ($64 billion) in assets under management as at June this year. It is estimated it manages A$500 million in listed and unlisted asset classes for Asian clients.

QIC has acquired 12 of Australia’s largest superannuation funds as clients in the past 20 years, and more recently it has prioritised expansion into the UK, European and US investments.

Just this month QIC announced it had signed the former Australian ambassador to China, Geoff Raby, on a consultancy basis. He will conduct relationship-building activities from Beijing.

QIC has also evolved into a house of specialised investment boutiques, centred around its sovereign wealth and multi-asset capabilities, as well as fixed interest (global), real estate, infrastructure (global) and private equity (global). It also has a small domestic equities boutique.

“I think our multi-boutique structure in this changing global environment is a very robust one,” adds McTaggart. “What I think QIC will be doing in the next few years is ascertaining which boutiques it wants, which it wants to build and where the markets are it wants to operate in. That is what we have been doing for the past year or two, and I think that will be an ongoing quest.”