Trustee Board & Management

Trustee Director Biographies

Learn more about AvSuper’s Board of nine Trustee Directors who are governed by the AvSuper Constitution and Trust Deed.

Ben Firkins

Joined AvSuper Board: 4 April 2002
Board roles: Member Representative Director

  • Chair of AvSuper
  • Investment Committee
  • Remuneration and Nomination Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • Diploma of Financial Planning, ASFA 2010
  • Advanced Diploma of Financial Services (Superannuation) 2007
  • ASFA 200 Trusteeship
  • ASFA 102 Administration 2007
  • ASFA Running your Super Fund 2000
  • ASFA PS 146 Certificate 2004
Ben currently works as a manager with CASA in Perth. His extensive experience enables him to appreciate the complex audit, compliance issues and risk matters faced by organisations like AvSuper. Ben’s practical experience and leadership is of great benefit to the Fund and its members, especially in his role as fund Chair. Ben has re-joined the Investment Committee after a period of extensive prior service with the fund’s Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee. He will focus on investment governance and compliance.

Stuart Brades

Joined AvSuper Board: 13 March 2019
Board roles:
  • Administration and Member Services Committee
  • Remuneration and Nomination Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • Masters of Professional Accounting
  • Bachelor of Science – Computing Science
Stuart is an Air Traffic Controller in the Perth Tower and Terminal Control Unit. He is Vice President Finance for the Civil Air Operations Officers Association of Australia. Stuart holds a number of qualifications including a Masters of Professional Accounting and a Bachelor of Science – Computing Science.

Geoffrey Burgess

Joined AvSuper Board: 1 July 2019
Board roles: Employer Representative Director

  • Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee
  • Investment Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • Company Directors’ course at AICD 2014
  • Enterprise Risk Management Course – Institute of Actuaries of Australia 2008
  • Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia 1982
  • Bachelor of Arts (Actuarial Studies), Macquarie University 1973
Geoff has over 40 years of experience working across the superannuation industry. For the majority of his career, Geoff practised as a consulting actuary advising both trustees and sponsoring employers on all aspects of defined benefit and other superannuation arrangements. More recently, he has been responsible for the investments of a corporate superannuation fund of similar size and design to AvSuper. Geoff is active in industry and professional bodies and was President of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia in 1996.

David Coogan

Joined AvSuper Board: 1 March 2022
Board roles: Employer Representative Director

  • Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • Bachelor of Business Studies
  • Fellow of Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia
  • Chair of Finance Committee of Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees
David has 35 years experience in the superannuation and funds management industry providing assurance, risk management, fund merger, strategic planning and other advisory services to superannuation funds and fund managers.

Lawrie Cox

Joined AvSuper Board: 15 October 2010
Board roles: Independent Director from 1 July 2018

  • Chair of Investment Committee
  • Chair of Remuneration and Nomination Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • ASFA 200 Trusteeship Certificate – Macquarie University 1996
  • PS146 ASFA November 2004
  • GAICD Australian Institute of Company Directors 2010
Lawrie was the manager of industrial relations with the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) and has over 36 years of industrial relations experience, mostly in the aviation industry. Lawrie also has over two decades experience as a professional director, including roles as a superannuation trustee director. Lawrie has extensive experience with superannuation industry issues, the legal framework and the Trustee’s fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of members.

Susan Darroch

Joined AvSuper Board: 25 May 2021
Board roles: Independent Director

  • Investment Committee
  • Administration and Member Services Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • Graduate Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Bachelor of Economics, Macquarie University
  • Graduate Diploma, FINSIA
Susan came to AvSuper with experience gained from a career in the banking and financial services sector spanning over 30 years. She has been responsible for the governance, risk management and compliance aspects of portfolio managements, all done with a focus on the clients’ bets interests. Susan has an interest in corporate governance, including incorporating ESG into organisational and investment policies.

Michael Farrell

Joined AvSuper Board: 1 March 2015
Board roles: Member Representative Director

  • Administration and Member Services Committee
  • Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • Trustee Director Accreditation Program (current)
Michael was an ARFF fire fighter for 31 years and his knowledge of this segment of the industry positions him well to address the needs of the fire fighters within AvSuper’s membership base. Having served in senior positions with union groups such as the ARFF, FFU, and UFUA (including national president and national trustee), Michael has obtained experience and detailed understandings of board governance (including procedural, legal and regulatory requirements), the preparation of financial information for external auditors and regulatory authorities, and the assessment and review of financial statements.

Julie Orr

Joined AvSuper Board: 1 July 2021
Board roles: Independent Director

  • Administration and Member Services Committee
  • Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • Graduate diploma of Applied Risk Management and Corporate Governance, Corporate Governance Institute of Australia
  • Company Directors Course, Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Master of Commerce (Hons) and Economics, UNSW
  • Master of Commerce Finance, UNSW
  • Chartered Accountant
  • Bachelor of Economics, Adelaide University
Julie joined the Fund as an experienced senior executive and non-executive director with over 20 years experience in superannuation, investments and all aspects of governance. She has established compliance programs and managed industry research and audits.

Tim Rothwell

Joined AvSuper Board: 27 June 2021
Board roles: Employer Representative Director

  • Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee
Relevant qualifications:
  • Honours degree in Economics and Accounting
  • member of ACID
  • qualified FCA
  • completed Senior Executive program, London Business School, 2008
Tim is a highly experienced board member, audit chair and mentor. As well as roles on various boards and mentoring MBA students, Tim has held senior executive roles such as CFO of an Australian airport for 19 years and advising in the privatisation of Australian airports. He has served on the Airservices Australia Board and mentored UNSW undergraduates on their Aviation Business Degree.

Executive Management Biographies

Learn more about AvSuper’s Executive Management team.

Michael Sykes

BEc (Hons), MBA, CPA
Joined AvSuper Team: 6 April 2021
AvSuper role: Chief Executive Officer
Relevant qualifications:
  • Member of CPA Australia
  • Certified Investment Management Analyst CIMA
  • Masters of Business Administration (UNE)
  • Bachelor of Economics (UNE)
Michael joined the Fund with over 25 years experience in the financial services industry across banking, insurance and superannuation.

Shan Badowski

GIA (Affiliated)
Joined AvSuper Team: 10 November 2014
AvSuper role: Executive Manager – Governance & Company Secretary
Relevant qualifications:
  • Advanced Diploma of Business (Accounting)
  • Diploma of Financial Planning (Deakin University)
  • Certificate in Governance Practice
Shan has over 25 years experience in financial services encompassing banking, financial planning and superannuation.

Michael Irving

MBA, Grad Cert(Mgt)
Joined AvSuper Team: 19 July 2021
AvSuper role: Executive Manager – Operations
Relevant qualifications:
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Graduate Certificate in Management
Michael has over 30 years’ experience within the superannuation industry in both retail and not-for-profit funds. Michael has broad management experience across a range of roles including operations, marketing, strategy and project management.

Nick Smith

BCom, BA, CPA
Joined AvSuper Team: 21 February 2018
AvSuper role: Executive Manager – Finance and Tax
Relevant qualifications:
  • Member of the Institute of Chartered Accounts (now Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand) in 2000
  • Bachelor of Commerce, major in Accounting (Australia National University)
  • Bachelor of Arts majoring in politics (ANU)
Nick is a chartered accountant with over 20 years’ experience in executive and leadership roles within the aviation, superannuation and Finance Sectors