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As the former Head of Group Finance, Planning, and Analysis at Qantas, Hendrik van Calcar was always interested in learning more about Qantas Super and the work it does.

“From the outside, I could see it was a well-run fund with a high calibre of individuals, that would have given me the ability to gain an understanding of the industry and improve as a financial professional,” he said.

He originally threw his hat in the ring for the role of Group E Director in 2010. Funnily enough, he and colleague Greg Manning each signed the other’s nomination form, with Greg going on to win the election and serve as Director for eight years.

“When it came time for him to leave, there was no doubt in my mind to put myself forward,” Hendrik said.

Winning the election in 2018, Hendrik said his expectations about how the Board would run and the volume of work involved were “calibrated” by conversations he had had with other Directors.

“In terms of the complexity, however, I probably gave too much credit to my financial experience. I learned quickly that the financial skills that are applied to the super industry sit adjacent to the traditional finance skills, so there was more learning to be done,” he admitted.

“I had also expected that the organisation would be run professionally, but it scored another mark or two out of 10 for that when I arrived.”

Though his tenure as a Director was relatively short, with Hendrik stepping down in December 2019 after departing Qantas Group, he said he is proud of what the fund has achieved through his time on the Board.

In particular, he is proud to have reinvigorated conversations on the consideration of ESG – environmental, social, and governance – factors in Qantas Super’s investing.

“We are now on the frontier of being able to take another step forward on ESG. I feel proud about giving that more energy than it’s had in the past,” he said.

As the election for a new Group E Director kicks off, Hendrik said the winning candidate will be joining a strong Board that is committed to its work.

“What we’ve got today is a very well-functioning Board that can test each other in a professional way; it’s all very collaborative and works well as a whole,” he said.

Having member-elected Directors is a key element.

“I think having member-elected Directors is important to bringing diversity to the Board, but rather than thinking about the interests of the 4,000 in your employee group, the role is about looking after the interests of all our members,” Hendrik explained.

With Qantas Super now in its 81st year of supporting Qantas employees, Hendrik said he hopes the fund will be bold in both the good work it does, and making this work known.

“On so many fronts Qantas Super has punched above its weight, whether it’s in terms of member experience, or whether it’s getting the right balance between risk mitigation and protection, or fees and performance, and that story has never really come out as well as it could,” he said.
“We have this great organisation that’s doing really well across all fronts, and I think there’s an opportunity for people to see that more.”

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