Michael Gordon, the group executive for Perpetual Investments, announced his retirement last week. It’s not the first time he has done so, but this time he means it. Gordon is one of Australia’s most successful investment management leaders, having had chief executive or head investment roles in Sydney, Hong Kong and London over the past 25 years.
He will give up executive duties at Perpetual Investments from the end of this year to concentrate on non-executive roles and charity positions. He is already on the boards of the Perpetual listed equity investment company, which he oversaw the launch of late last year, and Perpetual’s RE committee. He is also on the board of the Australian Gastro-intestinal Trials Group.
Gordon, 55, who has recovered from a serious illness over the past 18 months, said last week: “As I get older I find I am more drawn to governance and oversight than day-to-day management and Perpetual is entering an exciting new growth phase… It’s been a difficult decision to step down but I’m proud to have been part of the team that has laid the foundations for that.”
Gordon was co-chief executive and chief investment officer for Schroders in Australia in the early 1990s before leaving the firm to take on several local and international investments positions for Fidelity International, in Sydney, Hong Kong and then the UK, followed by the head of equities position for BNP Paribas Investment Partners in London.
His influence on the industry beyond Perpetual can be seen today through the successes of Paul Taylor at Fidelity and Martin Conlon at Schroders – both earlier Gordon appointees who have stood the test of time.
Gordon returned to Australia in late 2012 to take up his current investments position with Perpetual.
It was in between the Fidelity and BNP Paribas jobs, between 2009 and 2010, in London that he contemplated retirement for the first time, but it was really a sabbatical, he says. At 49, it was too early for the quiet life in the English countryside outside of London where he lived with his family.
“This time it’s a genuine retirement,” he said. “I have done the company directors’ course, which I really enjoyed, and I can guarantee that it’s not going to be a sabbatical.”
He said that as he looked around at other directors being appointed to boards recently, he observed that they tended to be in their 50s, rather than the old stereotype of having waited until they’d fully retired in their mid-60s or older.
Geoff Lloyd, Perpetual managing director, said: “Michael is very much a part of the Perpetual family and we look forward to working with him through the rest of the year. This will include ensuring an orderly handover to his successor.”
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