Family office merger sees new chief executive

Newly combined family offices, Mutual Trust and Myer Family Company, announced the appointment of a new chief executive.

Phil Harkness has been appointed chief executive of Mutual Trust and chief executive-elect of the enlarged group.

Pending completion of the merger, which is currently subject to regulatory approvals, Harkness will be actively involved in the affairs of both businesses, according to a statement.

Current Myer Family chief executive Danielle Press will leave the company after assisting with a smooth transition over the coming weeks and months, the company said.

Myer Family appointed Press as its chief executive in June 2016, and prior to that she was the head of Equipsuper for six years. She also served as the managing director of UBS Global Asset Management for about 17 years.

Harkness was most recently a partner at Ernst and Young, where he led the strategy practice for Oceania and Asia Pacific and the performance improvement practice within EY Advisory. Prior to that he was vice president of global management consultant firm A.T. Kearney for 11 years based in Melbourne.

Current Mutual Trust chief executive Tim Hammon, who recently announced his retirement after about 10 years at the helm, will stay on as a consultant. Hammon was previously Coles Myer Group's chief officer of corporate and property services for 11 years.

As previously announced in the heads of agreement, existing Mutual Trust shareholders will own 65% of the expanded Mutual Trust. Myer Family will own 35% and become Mutual Trusts' largest single shareholder.

The enlarged group will trade under the name Mutual Trust.

The existing Mutual Trust board of six non-executive directors will add Myer Family nominees Sidney Myer, Rupert Myer and John Russell, while Gordon Dickinson will continue as chair.

Harkness said: "It is a very exciting time to be creating what is the clear leader in an ever increasingly complex industry. The combination of these two 80 plus year old firms will offer a deeper and broader range of very personalised services to our existing and future clients. It is a privilege to be at the helm."

Read more: Mutual TrustMyer FamilyEYMyer Family CompanyDanielle PressEquipsuperGordon DickinsonJohn RussellMelbournePhil HarknessRupert MyerSidney MyerTim HammonUBS Global Asset Management
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