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Aware Super announces Executive reorganisation, creates expanded COO role

07 February 2024

A reorganisation of Aware Super’s Executive structure will see the introduction of a Chief Operating Officer role with wider responsibilities.


Aware Super CEO Deanne Stewart says the changes will support the needs of members.

Aware Super has announced an Executive reorganisation that will introduce an expanded Chief Operating Officer (COO) role into its Group Executive, and a closer integration of the fund’s financial advice services into its broader suite of financial education and guidance.

The changes, effective from 2 April 2024, come after the fund completed the last major tranche of its multi-year digital transformation program, as it positions itself to accelerate its growth and lead in innovation for better member outcomes.

Aware Super’s Chief Executive Officer, Deanne Stewart, said the announced changes would drive greater alignment between the organisation’s internal structures and the needs of members.

“With millions of Australians either already living in retirement, or rapidly approaching it, superannuation funds need to better orient themselves towards supporting members in this important life stage,” Ms Stewart said.

“What Australians need as they prepare to live their best possible retirement is at the heart of our organisation’s strategy, and will now be reflected in our organisation’s structure as well.

”This will ensure we’re putting our best teams to work on solving the biggest challenges our members face, wherever they might be on their own individual journey to a dignified, comfortable retirement.”

“Our members rely on us every day to deliver strong, long-term returns, competitive fees, and a seamless experience of interacting with their super on their terms – including access to appropriate financial advice, financial education and the simple help they need to do what they want to do with their super.”

The new Executive structure sees one external appointment made to Aware Super’s leadership, with the fund announcing that Sally Collins will take on the expanded Chief Operating Officer role from 15 April 2024.

Ms Collins joins the fund from HESTA, and will bring extensive experience leading transformational change and execution programs, technology and data analytics uplifts, and the design and execution of organisational strategy. Prior to HESTA, Ms Collins held both customer-facing and operations Executive roles at AXA, CBA and NAB and was the Chief Operating Officer of the Victorian Funds Management Corporation (VFMC) for almost five years.

As Chief Operating Officer, Ms Collins will lead the fund’s Technology and Data Governance, Data Strategy, Investment Operations, Strategy, Planning & Delivery, Transformation, and Finance, Tax and Procurement teams. This will see critical, enterprise-supporting functions aligned to enable the fund to deliver its transformation at pace, and support the fund’s commitment to members through its operating model.

In addition to Ms Collins’ appointment, Aware Super also announced broader changes to the Group Executive, including:

Group Executive Member Engagement and Advice: Incumbent COO, Jo Brennan, will take on a newly created role dedicated to optimising Aware Super’s investment in digital technology and financial advice, to ensure maximum alignment between the fund’s service experience and members’ diverse needs. The Member Engagement and Advice team will be an integral function in Aware Super’s push to lead the evolution of industry superannuation service standards for member experience, financial advice, help and guidance.

Group Executive Member Growth: Current Group Executive Member Growth, Steve Travis, will retain his role with significantly expanded scope through his leadership of the Acquisition, Connect and Grow, and Retire teams. The fund’s Corporate Development team – responsible for fund mergers – will also report to Mr Travis in the new Executive structure, with a focus on enhancing the value to merger partners following Aware Super’s recent digital transformation.

Chief of Staff and Group Executive Communications and Advocacy: Chief of Staff and Group Executive for Victoria, Katrina McPhee, will lead a newly created communications, public affairs and advocacy team. Ms McPhee will retain her Chief of Staff responsibilities, in addition to taking on the role of Group Executive Communications and Advocacy.

The fund also confirmed that Group Executive Finance, Strategy and Transformation, Tim Elliott, would leave the organisation after more than 11 years, to pursue other opportunities.

Ms Stewart thanked the highly regarded Group Executive and CFO for playing a leading role in launching Aware Super out of a mega-merger between First State Super, VicSuper, StatePlus and WA Super in 2020.

“Losing great talent from an Executive team is always painful, but particularly from a team as close-knit as ours became during the significant challenge of merging large funds during the heights of the COVID pandemic,” said Ms Stewart.

“Tim has made many invaluable contributions to the success of Aware Super in delivering for our members over the past 11 years. In addition to helping steer our organisational strategy, Tim has consistently led his large teams with a deep understanding of the importance of growing team capability and culture to support an organisation’s growth, particularly in complex and highly regulated environments. He leaves behind a legacy of strong financial and strategic management, which has set Aware Super up with an excellent springboard for our future.

“This has been vitally important to our growth during a period which has seen the fund implement the industry’s most significant digital transformation project, grow to more than $160 billion in funds under management and lead the industry’s calls for reforms to make quality financial advice more affordable, and accessible, to more Australians.”

Since joining Aware Super, Mr Elliott has built and led key functions including Finance, Tax, Procurement, Investment Services, Enterprise Delivery and Data Sciences. Mr Elliott led critical work streams during the merger with VicSuper, and oversaw development of Aware Super’s industry-leading direct investment valuation governance.

Media enquiries: Grant Smith,


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