Tansy Harcourt, Senior Reporter at The Australian. 

Former Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe has been named as the chairman of Future Generation Australia, replacing former NSW premier Mike Baird.

The role is Mr Lowe’s first board appointment since stepping down from the RBA last year.

Future Generation Australia and stablemate Future Generation Global are the brainchildren of high-profile investor Geoff Wilson. The two LICs give shareholders exposure to top fund managers without their accompanying fees and have donated $75.8m combined to charities.

Mr Lowe said he always strived to work in areas that “enhance the welfare of Australians.”

“It’s a privilege to work with Future Generation Australia’s shareholders and pro bono fund managers to support our most vulnerable youth,” said Mr Lowe.

Mr Lowe had been RBA governor for seven years and left under a cloud of discontent from mortgage holders after overseeing 12 interest rate rises in 14 months as he attempted to rein in record high inflation.

While the rate rises were seen by most as a necessary measure, the RBA’s suggestion – before inflation started to kick up – that rates would remain low until “2024” caught many a borrower by surprise.

Future Generation chief executive Caroline Gurney said Mr Lowe would provide an “invaluable” level of experience.

He had “a front-row seat for the Hawke-Keating reforms, the Global Financial Crisis and the economic policy response to Covid-19 – he’s seen it all … he – like all our directors – has agreed to waive all usual director fees, so that we can maximise our social investment without compromising shareholder returns.”

In November, the group named former Business Council of Australia boss Jennifer Westacott as the chairman of Future Generation Global, the listed investment company that donates a portion of its profits – so far $38m – to youth mental health charities.

Mr Wilson is striving for the $3bn currently invested in these philanthropic investment vehicles to increase to $100bn by offering shareholders investment and social returns.

Mr Baird will have been in the chairman role for two years when he departs Future Generation Australia.

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