(Pictured: Michael Baldwin)
The Fund Executives Association Ltd said goodbye to its long-standing and much-loved CEO, Michael Baldwin, last week. The speakers tried to not sound like they were delivering eulogies, but it was difficult.
Baldwin, who has had a private passion for the arts for many years, has become the deputy head of the National Gallery in Canberra. He will be replaced at FEAL, at least temporarily, by Joanna Davison, a new trustee of NSW Local Government Super and a former sponsor of FEAL’s various activities when she was a fund manager at Russell Investments and Colonial First State.
Speakers were purposely kept to a minimum. They included Neil Cochrane, FEAL chair, whose speaker notes are reprinted below, Lorraine Berends, an early FEAL supporter and worker, who shed a tear while others in the audience tried to sniff them back, and Baldwin himself. About 90 people were present to share Michael Dwyer’s hospitality in the First State Super seminar room on Tuesday night. While we didn’t hear from him publicly during the event, it was generally acknowledged that Dwyer, the inaugural chair of FEAL, had had the biggest part to play in the ongoing success of the association through his mentoring of Baldwin. The two Michaels were a formidable pairing.
Cochrane said: “Michael (Baldwin), as you look around this room, you will see only those whose lives you have touched for good and it is in recognition of that we all come here tonight.
“As FEAL CEO, our colleague and our friend:
You have negotiated and facilitated scholarships which have taken us around the world to colleges and universities we may never have had the opportunity to attend.
“You have founded a Masters Program at the Melbourne Business School that not only is a matter of great pride to the university but those who have been part of it have found new friends and colleagues, learned new skills and an untapped confidence.
“You have run numerous lunch time briefings, some have brought new light to complex issues, other raised broad discussion, others stretched our minds, embedded our ethics and values while still others have taught us lessons on resilience and left us with tears in our eyes.
“Your conferences have been recognized as the best in the industry with never a falter from that standard, even though I know you have been peddling really hard to keep it seamless, like the time a Keynote Speaker gave you 24 hours notice that he was still in London, and promptly seemed to fall off the end of the earth…yet you found a wonderful solution!
“You have managed a Board of diverse CEOs, none of whom you could describe as shrinking violets! You have managed your Chairmen, who like me may have come up with impossible ideas and you have gently lead us back to sanity.
“You have orchestrated net-working opportunities that have enabled un-paralleled sharing of ideas, the building of trust and mutual respect.
“We all know that as you go forward into your new role at the National Gallery that the whole of Australia will be the richer for you being there, but we shall miss you being one of us.
“Out of the courage of your being you have defined professionalism for us, out of your affection you have bound our friendship, out of your deep humanity you have changed our lives.
“You leave us with a legacy of the highest values, a reputation unequalled with respect and an affection filled with the deepest gratitude.”