Future Fund chairman David Murray has signed on for a further 12 months at the sovereign wealth fund amid controversy over an alleged board split, it was announced yesterday.
Treasurer Wayne Swan re-appointed Murray for a further year, saying in a press release that the chairman did not want another full five-year term for personal reasons.
It was reported in the mainstream media that fellow board member Trevor Rowe had been fighting Murray's reappointment.
Trevor Rowe is to leave the board early next month after his current term concludes, the Federal Government said in its statement.
Murray had often polarised opinion and had been an outspoken advocate of shareholder democracy, at one time insisting on changes to Telstra's board.
Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey said the Federal Government should have re-appointed Murray for a full five-year term or looked for someone else.
Wayne Swan's office did not comment other than to refer to the press release.
Shadow Assistant Treasurer Senator Mathias Cormann weighed in saying the Government decision was the worst of both worlds.
"It's indecisive. The Future Fund is very important with billions in taxpayer's dollars. There ought to be long-term certainty," he said.
In new appointments to the Future Fund's management, Goldman Sachs Australia managing director Stephen Fitzgerald will join Contango Asset Management investment services director Carol Austin on the board.
The pair will replace Trevor Rowe and Jeffrey Browne from early next month.
David Murray said both men had made important contributions to the fund, thanked them for their work and welcomed the new members.
"With these appointments, for the first time since its inception, the Board has a spread of Board member terms that achieves a suitable balance between continuity and renewal," he said.
The Government also reappointed board member John Mulcahy for a further four years.
The Future Fund reports that it has $71.7 billion in funds under management. Including the Education Investment Fund, Building Australia Fund and Health and Hospitals Fund assets, it manages more than $90 billion in taxpayer funds.