Don Russell, who joined the AustralianSuper board in May this year, will become the fund’s next chairman following the retirement of Heather Ridout, who has been the chair since 2013.
Ian Silk, AustralianSuper chief executive, said: “Don has an extraordinary range of experience in both the private and public sectors and also has a very deep understanding of the superannuation system and its role in the Australian economy. His broad and deep experience in both finance and public sector policy development will serve AustralianSuper members well.”
Both Russell and Silk praised Ridout for her service, explaining the vital role she has played in building Australia’s largest super fund.
“She has deftly and expertly led AustralianSuper during a period of extraordinary growth, and under her leadership the fund has delivered excellent outcomes for members. The board is delighted that Heather will continue with the fund as a member of the investment committee,” Russell said. Silk said: “I’m sure members will join me in saying thank you to Heather for her tireless efforts to support AustralianSuper.”
Russell has been a director of the Centre for Policy Development since June 2018. His previous directorships include CSIRO and the chair of NSW’s State Super. He was the chief executive of the South Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet until 2018. His other roles include secretary of the Federal Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education; senior roles at BNY Mellon Asset Management Australia and Sanford Bernstein in New York, as well as a consultant to the World Bank, Bankers Trust, Westpac and Counsellor in the Australian delegation to the OECD in Paris.
Between 1993 and 1995, he served as Australia’s Ambassador to the USA in Washington. From 1985 to 1993, and again in 1996, he was principal advisor to Paul Keating, both during his time as Treasurer and Prime Minister.