Challenger appoints Nick Hamilton as CEO

Challenger has appointed Nick Hamilton as managing director and chief executive and will begin his role on 1 January, 2022.

Hamilton would succeed Richard Howes who announced his retirement in August after 18 years with the company. Howes would remain available for the first quarter of 2022 to support the transition.

Hamilton joined Challenger in 2015 and had been chief executive of Challenger’s fund management business since 2019. He had prior held several senior leadership roles at top tier financial services across Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

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In an announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), Challenger chair, Peter Polson, said the board concluded that Hamilton had the ideal leadership capabilities and attributes to drive Challenger’s next phase of growth.

“In Nick, we have an outstanding candidate, with a proven track record of leading and growing high performing businesses and driving innovation, both at Challenger and across the financial services industry in Australia and internationally,” Polson said.

“Under his leadership, our funds management business has gone from strength to strength and is now one of the fastest growing active asset managers in the country.

“He has played a central role in diversifying Challenger’s offering across Australia, Asia and Europe, securing a number of high quality partnerships and bringing a suite of contemporary client solutions to market.”

Hamilton said: “It is a privilege to take on the role of CEO for a business with such an important purpose, proud history and exciting future, and I thank Richard for handing on the business in such strong shape.

“With a burgeoning population of retirement age, Challenger’s role in providing customers with financial security for a better retirement is more important than ever.

“By focusing on meeting the needs of our diverse customer base as they prepare for and enter retirement, there’s a real opportunity to both meet a societal imperative and continue to grow our business.

“This is an exciting time for Challenger, and I look forward to leading our highly capable team to capture the great opportunity ahead for our business.”

On behalf of the board, Polson thanked retiring CEO Richard Howes for his contribution to Challenger over almost two decades.

“Richard has been a passionate advocate of Challenger’s purposed-driven culture and played a key role in building the business into what it is today. He has also steered the business through unprecedented external challenges with his trademark determination and clarity of thought,” Polson said.

Outgoing CEO, Howes, said it had been a great honour to lead Challenger.

“I am delighted to be passing the baton to Nick, who I have worked with closely throughout his career at Challenger. He is a talented and respected executive who will spare no effort to deliver for our people, customers and shareholders,” Howes said.

Challenger said it would undertake a search process for the new CEO of its funds management business and would confirm any interim arrangements in due course.

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