media release


14 February 2019


HESTA Executive Rob Fowler retires resulting in new role at the Fund leading investment execution 


HESTA Executive – Investment Execution, Rob Fowler will retire from the Fund in July, resulting in a new role being created to lead investment execution at the $46 billion industry fund.

HESTA CEO Debby Blakey paid tribute to the enormous contribution Rob has made for members over 15 years, first as CIO and later heading up a fast-expanding investment operations and execution capability.

“Rob was the second HESTA employee hired in our investments team and over many years he has made an amazing difference to the financial future of our members through delivering strong, long-term investment performance,” Ms Blakey said.

“Rob has shown incredible leadership and strategic foresight, spearheading the establishment of HESTA as a global leader in responsible investment.”

“As CIO, he pioneered the integration of ESG into mainstream investment mandates across all asset classes domestically and was a leader in global ESG integration by investment managers. Rob also led the implementation of total portfolio screens for tobacco and thermal coal at HESTA.”

Ms Blakey said Rob is looking to move into ‘semi-retirement’ and thanked him for helping develop and deliver a comprehensive transition plan for an area of the business undergoing significant change.  

There will be a new role created to lead investment execution at HESTA. The role, ‘Head of Investment Execution’, will report to HESTA CIO, Sonya Sawtell-Rickson, and will be a member of the senior leadership team at HESTA.

Ms Sawtell-Rickson said the newly created role will oversee middle and back office functions of the investment team and facilitate closer partnerships between the execution and investment management arms of HESTA’s internal team.

 “A key focus of the role is on designing and implementing investment operating models, particularly as we look closely at our internal asset management capability,” Ms Sawtell-Rickson said.

“We are looking at significant systems implementations in the coming years to support the development of our investment approach and supporting innovation with world-class execution is vital.”

Ms Sawtell-Rickson also took the opportunity to thank Rob for his contribution to the outstanding investment performance delivered for members and the strength of HESTA’s internal team.

“It really is an amazing legacy Rob leaves, having built an investment team from the ground up at HESTA,” Ms Sawtell-Rickson said.

“It’s from this very solid foundation that we’re now able to take this forward and strive to be a leading global investment organisation.”

Mr Fowler said it has been a wonderful experience working with the HESTA team, particularly with the executive team led by Debby, and previously Anne-Marie Corboy. More importantly though, it has been a privilege to have been able to support HESTA members’ to achieve strong and secure financial futures after they have spent their careers caring for others.

“It’s been an incredible honour to have been entrusted with growing and protecting our members’ hard-earned savings and ensuring that they have the best possible retirement,” Mr Fowler said.

“After more than 30 years in the investment industry, I am looking forward to stepping back from a full-time role and exploring different types of opportunities.”

During his time at HESTA, Mr Fowler has held a number of senior board and investment advisory roles across the superannuation sector. Mr Fowler was a key supporter of the re-launch of the BT Governance Advisory Service as engagement adviser, Regnan, representing HESTA on the Board for over 8 years, and has been on the management committee of the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) for more than a decade.

Mr Fowler is also the founding and current Chair of ESG Research Australia, a collaboration of superannuation funds, fund managers and asset consultants aimed at increasing stockbroker research that includes consideration of ESG issues.

In addition to these responsible investment-focused positions, Mr Fowler also represented HESTA on IFM Investors’ Investment Advisory Board and its various derivations for over 10 years.




HESTA is an industry superannuation fund dedicated to those working in the health and community services sector. HESTA has over 860,000 members and manages more than $46 billion of members’ assets. HESTA is an acronym and should be capitalised.


Media contact:

Sam Riley

Media Relations Manager

(03) 8660 1684


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