ANZ Names Australia Sovereign Fund Head Gonski as Chairman

Incoming ANZ Chairman David Gonski
David Gonski, incoming chairman of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. Photographer: Ian Waldie/Bloomberg

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. named David Gonski, the head of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, as chairman to succeed John Morschel.

Gonski, 60, said in a statement that he will take over in May after stepping down as chairman of Australia’s Future Fund in January. He took up the role in April 2012. Peter Costello, former treasurer of Australia, was named acting chairman of the A$92 billion ($82 billion) fund by the government today.

Gonski has experience in Asia that will be an asset, ANZ said in a statement today. ANZ is the country’s most Asia-focused lender with a target of getting as much as 30 percent of profits from outside Australia and New Zealand by 2017.

“He is highly regarded in business circles and has a strong mix of Asian and Australian experience,” David Ellis, a Sydney-based analyst with Morningstar Inc., said by phone. “Gonski will only reinforce ANZ’s twin focus of Asia and Australia for growth.”

Gonski, a solicitor, said he will continue as chairman of Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd., director of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. and chancellor of the University of New South Wales. He was a director at Melbourne-based ANZ from 2002 to 2007, the bank said. His term at the Future Fund was due to expire in April 2017, according to the fund’s latest annual report.

ANZ didn’t say what Morschel, 70, intended to do after departing as chairman, a role he has had since March 2010.

Costello, the longest serving federal treasurer, will take over as acting chairman of the sovereign fund from Jan. 11 for three months or until a replacement is made, according to a joint statement from Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann. Costello has been a Future Fund board member since December 2009, according to the statement.

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