IFM Investors appoints Future Fund’s David Neal as CEO

Future Fund chief executive will take over at IFM following Brett Himbury's retirement, with Cameron Price taking over as acting CEO of the sovereign fund.

Future Fund, IFM, David Neal
Neal: leaving to head IFM after 13 years as chief executive at Future Fund.

IFM Investors has appointed David Neal as its new chief executive, replacing the departing Brett Himbury.

Neal joins IFM from Future Fund, where he was also chief executive. He will depart Future Fund on 28 February but IFM declined to confirm the precise date when he will commence his new role.

Neal joined Future Fund in 2007 as the organisation’s inaugural chief investment officer, before stepping up to the CEO role in 2014. As CIO he designed and built the fund’s investment model.

He previously spent 15 years at Willis Towers Watson, starting in the UK before establishing and leading the firm’s investment consulting business in Australia. He is also a director at Perth Airport, in which both Future Fund and IFM Investors hold equity stakes, and of FCLT Global, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to encourage long-term thinking in investment decision-making.

Future Fund’s current general counsel and chief risk officer Cameron Price will take over as acting chief executive following Neal’s departure. The sovereign wealth fund said in a statement that it will undertake a global search to find a new chief executive.

Announcing the appointment, IFM chair Greg Combet described Neal as a “superb leader” with “a highly successful record”.

“David will continue the global evolution of IFM Investors consistent with our purpose – to deliver strong net returns to the millions of members of our superfund, pension fund and institutional investors,” he said. “We have an ambitious agenda going forward – to maintain strong investment performance across our asset classes and products, continue to grow and evolve as an organisation, and to be leaders in responsible investment.

“The industry superfunds movement has now clearly reached a scale where we can attract the very best corporate leaders in the world.”

Neal said in a statement that it had been “a privilege to contribute to the establishment and success of the Future Fund” and that he was looking forward to a new challenge.

Future Fund had A$168.1 billion ($113 billion; €102 billion) in assets under management, and IFM Investors had A$163 billion of AUM, as of 31 December 2019.

Combet also paid tribute to outgoing chief executive Himbury for his “extraordinary stewardship” of IFM over 10 years.

The firm declined to confirm the exact date for his retirement. When announcing Himbury’s retirement in September 2019, IFM said he would retire from executive duties by December 2020.