AFCA appoints new chair

AFCA new chair

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority board of directors has appointed its next chair.

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) board of directors has appointed Professor John Pollaers as its new independent chair.

The newly appointed Pollaers brings extensive experience to the financial services body as the current chancellor of Swinburne University, chair of the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council, and was formerly chair of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce for the federal government.

In addition he has also been an advisory board member of the Aged Care Financing Authority from 2015 to 2018, former chair of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee, and was part of the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce.

Pollaers has also held significant roles in the commercial sector serving stints as chief executive of Pacific Brands, chief executive of Fosters and president of Diageo.

Commenting on his new role Pollaers said he is delighted to join an organisation that aims to provide an essential service to the community.

“I am delighted to be working alongside a committed and experienced Board to support chief ombudsman and chief executive David Locke as we continue to deliver on AFCA’s core purpose to provide fair and independent solutions for financial disputes, and support our members to raise standards and minimise disputes,” Pollaers said.

He replaces inaugural AFCA chair Helen Coonan whose term has come to an end.

She applauded the choice of her replacement and noted the experience he will bring to the complaints body.

“John is an experienced chair and leader whose career is characterised by a commitment to strong governance and visionary strategic leadership. He has always created strong, effective relationships between industry, government and consumer bodies in all sectors he has been involved in. John’s independence and experience will be instrumental in driving AFCA’s vision to be a world-class ombudsman service into the future,” Coonan said.

The AFCA board recognised the outgoing chair’s contribution and her efforts in building the ombudsman service.

“Helen has been an exceptional chair of AFCA over the last three years establishing AFCA as an important national body, helping industry and thousands of consumers to resolve often intractable disputes. AFCA has worked with the financial services industry to promote best practice,” it said.

Acting as an external dispute resolution service, AFCA received over 188,000 disputes and paid over $552 million in compensation to individual consumers and small business owners during Coonan’s tenure as chair.

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