Christian Super lures new CEO from World Vision

Sally Rose

By

11/10/2017

Christian Super has named World Vision executive and former Macquarie banker Ross Piper its incoming chief executive.

The $1.2 billion faith-based superannuation fund made the announcement on Wednesday October 11, 2017.

Piper will conclude his current role, as World Vision Australia chief operating officer, in early January 2018, before commencing at Christian Super later that month.

It will be his first role in the superannuation sector. Speaking to Investment Magazine, Piper said he was attracted by Christian Super’s focus on social impact investing.

The fund, which pitches itself as “100 per cent ethically invested”, according to Christian values, also has more than $140 million invested via its dedicated social impact fund.

In September 2016, Christian Super launched Brightlight Impact Advisory, with the intention of developing a capability to sell its impact investment expertise to other like-minded funds. The division is led by Christian Super chief investment officer Tim Macready.

Piper said helping to develop Brightlight would be part of his remit, along with growth for the super fund. Christian Super is a small fund that has demonstrated strong growth in recent years by appealing to a niche market among consumers in the Choice market and picking up default MySuper mandates from a handful of church-affiliated employers, including Hillsong.

“Christian Super has a long track record of operating with clear purpose and intentional impact within the superannuation space,” Piper said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to join an organisation demonstrating purpose and impact in its industry.”

Piper has been chief operating officer at World Vision Australia for two years, before which he spent four years based in Cyprus as the charity’s senior director of operations in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. In an earlier stint at World Vision, Piper was the organisation’s national director for Serbia and Montenegro from 1999 to 2003.

Over a five-year period that included the global financial crisis, from 2005 to 2010, he was a senior executive at Macquarie Group, with the title head of corporate risk.

Piper began his professional life as a mining geologist, before moving into community development roles, including with Rio Tinto.

Christian Super chair Neville Cox said the board looked forward to Piper taking on the leadership role.

“Ross brings a wealth of strategic and operational experience across multiple sectors,” Cox said. “His expertise and skills will be invaluable to Christian Super as we continue to grow.”

Piper will fill the role left vacant since the departure of former Christian Super chief executive Peter Murphy in April 2017.

Murphy, who led Christian Super for more than nine years, departed to join boutique management consultancy Robertson & Chang, where he now assists not-for-profit organisations with their financial and business strategies.