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Annuitas finds chief, loses investment head

The Kiwi secretariat provider has named former WTW global head of governance consulting Tim Mitchell as chief executive to replace long-time head Simon Tyler. But it has another vacancy to fill with the looming exit of Paul Bevin, general manager investments.

Bevin will leave Annuitas at the end of March, wrapping up an 18-year career with the outsourced government fund manager. Tyler ended a 10-year shift leading Annuitas last September while Mitchell served about seven years with WTW – the global insurance broker and consulting firm formerly known as Willis Towers Watson – including the last two in Wellington.

Mitchell (photo at top) said the Annuitas role fit well with his previous WTW investment governance experience.

“It is an asset owner with a public purpose,” he said. “And there are some complex challenges to address.”

The Wellington-based organisation currently employs about 14 staff.

Mitchell was marooned in the NZ capital by COVID border restrictions in March 2020 while on holiday from his then Melbourne base before making the move permanent. During his NZ stint in the senior WTW role he managed the statutory review of the approximately $4 billion Government Superannuation Fund (GSF), one of the two entities overseen by Annuitas. In addition to the GSF, Annuitas looks after the almost $2 billion National Provident Fund, which controls eight government-guaranteed pension schemes.

Following almost 13 years with the NZ Superannuation Fund (NZS) where he was the first employee of inaugural chief, Paul Costello, Mitchell joined WTW as a senior investment consultant in the UK, later shifting to Australia. He was promoted to global head of governance consulting in 2019.

The Nasdaq-listed Willis Towers Watson formally adopted the WTW brand in January last year in the wake of an aborted merger with rival, Aon. First proposed in March 2020, WTW and Aon called off the planned corporate marriage in July 2021, citing insurmountable regulatory barriers. Aon paid WTW a US$1 billion break fee in the wake of the merger collapse.

Mitchell also offered independent consultancy services in his own right as principal of TM Consulting, with clients including the Reserve Bank of NZ, Public Trust and the Accident Compensation Corporation. Prior to joining NZS in 2002, he spent almost two years as principal adviser to Treasury following close to seven years in the chief investment officer role for the NZ branch of Colonial First State Investment Management.

Executive search firm, Hobson Leavy, conducted the Annuitas recruitment process.

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