Jo Townsend, Chief Executive Officer, New Zealand Super

Jo Townsend, Chief Executive Officer, New Zealand Super

NZ Super Appoints New CEO

Jo Townsend Named in Top Role

New Zealand Super has appointed a new Chief Executive Officer

New Zealand Super has appointed Jo Townsend as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and she will join the NZ$70 billion fund in April this year.

Townsend replaces Matt Whineray, who resigned as CEO last year.

Townsend is well-known for her role as CEO of Funds SA in South Australia, where she led the transformation of the fund after a period of significant growth.

Townsend described Fund SA’s journey in a 2019 interview with [i3] Insights, discussing the growth of an organisation with just eight clients and 30 staff when she joined in 2015 to the sophisticated institutional investor it has become. Today, the public sector fund manages over $40 billion.

“We are excited to have Jo join the Guardians’ team.  She is a highly-experienced CEO with a 30-year career in the Australian investment sector,” John Williamson, Chair of the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, the Crown entity that manages the fund, said.

“Jo is a proven people leader with a track record of developing high-performing teams, attracting talent and building strong stakeholder relationships.

“As the first externally-appointed CEO since Adrian Orr in 2007, Jo will bring a fresh industry perspective and considerable experience to the Guardians.  We believe she is the right person to lead us into the future,” he said.

Townsend will take up her new role in April 2024 and Paula Steed will continue as Acting CEO until then.

Townsend was CEO of Funds SA between 2015 and 2023. Before that, she was General Manager, Investments at superannuation fund REST.

Earlier in her career, she held investment roles at NGS Super, Retirement Benefits Fund, Value Capital Management and Rothschild Australia Asset Management.

NZ Super also announced that Stephen Gilmore, Chief Investment Officer (CIO) at the fund, has resigned to join CalPERS, the largest public pension fund in the United States, as its CIO.


[i3] Insights is the official educational bulletin of the Investment Innovation Institute [i3]. It covers major trends and innovations in institutional investing, providing independent and thought-provoking content about pension funds, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds across the globe.