Updated: 17 May 2021

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority’s (AFCA) Board of Directors today announced the appointment of Professor John Pollaers OAM as its next Independent Chair.

Prof Pollaers’ appointment follows the Hon Helen Coonan’s term of office as AFCA’s inaugural Chair.

Prof Pollaers is Chancellor of Swinburne University of Technology, Chairman of the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council and Chairman and Founder of Leef Independent Living Solutions Pty Ltd. He was formerly Chair of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce for the Federal Government, Chairman of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee and a member of the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce. He has had a distinguished executive career in both retail and advanced manufacturing industries.

The Hon Helen Coonan, said she was pleased Prof Pollaers had been appointed to the role of Independent Chair and that he brought significant experience to AFCA.

“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,” Ms Coonan said.

“John will make an excellent Chair. I wish both John and the Board well as they continue to deliver against AFCA’s vision and strategy,” Ms Coonan said.

Prof Pollaers said he was delighted to be joining the organisation, noting AFCA’s core purpose to deliver fair outcomes to members, consumers and small business.

“AFCA provides an essential service to the community. AFCA’s role to effectively work with financial firms, consumers and small business to resolve financial complaints, often in complex situations, is critical,” Prof Pollaers said. 

“I am delighted to be working alongside a committed and experienced Board to support Chief Ombudsman and CEO 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.”

AFCA’s Board thanked the outgoing Chair, the Hon Helen Coonan for her dedication and her commitment to building a world-class ombudsman service.

The Board acknowledged Helen’s outstanding contribution as AFCA’s inaugural Chair, when AFCA took over the work of three significant predecessor bodies to provide a single external dispute resolution service with a significantly expanded jurisdiction, an increased membership and the capacity to award significantly increased levels of financial compensation to consumers and small business. 

“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.”

During Ms Coonan’s tenure as Independent Chair, AFCA received over 188,000 disputes with over $522 million being paid in compensation to individual consumers and small business owners.

Media enquires: Contact media@afca.org.au  or 0466 929 659.

Professor John Pollaers OAM

Professor John Pollaers OAM

Prof Pollaers is Chancellor of Swinburne University, Chairman of the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council, and Chair of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce for the Federal Government.  He was also a member of the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce, Chairman of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee and an Advisory Board Member of the Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA) from 2015 – 2018, which provides independent advice to the Government on funding and financing issues, informed by consultation with consumers, and the aged care and finance sectors.

In his executive career Prof. Pollaers was CEO of Pacific Brands through until 2014 and prior that as CEO of Fosters and President of Diageo.  He is founder and Chair of Leef Independent Living Solutions.

He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in June 2018, for service to the manufacturing sector, to education and to business. 

Prof. Pollaers holds an MBA from Macquarie University/INSEAD, a Bachelor of Computer Science, and Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from UNSW.
 

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