Cbus moves quickly to reinstall Bracks as fund chairman
Former Victorian premier Steve Bracks has been reappointed as chairman of $23 billion industry superannuation fund Cbus, effective immediately.
The appointment comes days after foreign minister-elect Julie Bishop dumped the former Labor leader as Australian consul-general in New York. Nick Minchin and Peter Costello have been raised as potential replacements.
Cbus said Mr Bracks "was and is the strongest person to lead the board", and thanked board member Glenn Thompson for acting as interim chairman.
Mr Bracks was chairman at Cbus for four years. He resigned a number of positions, including at the super lobby group Industry Super Network, after being appointed to the New York role in May.
The network's chief executive, David Whiteley, said changes to accommodate Mr Bracks' departure would not be reversed.
Peter Collins, a one-time senior member of the NSW Liberal Party, was recently appointed chairman of ISN, replacing Mr Bracks. John Brumby, a former Victorian Labor premier who serves as a director of Chinese telco Huawei, is his deputy.
Labor figures this week described the Coalition's decision to dump Mr Bracks as petty and vindictive.
The outgoing special minister of state, Mark Dreyfus, accused the Coalition of misunderstanding the caretaker conventions. "Mr Bracks was appointed on [May16] ... that is more than 11 weeks before the start of the caretaker conventions," he said.
State Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said: "To axe Steve Bracks from this position simply because he is not a Liberal really does Julie Bishop and Tony Abbott no credit."
But Ms Bishop criticised Mr Bracks' appointment at the time due to its proximity to the election. There are also reports the Coalition was unhappy Mr Bracks publicly supported a Labor candidate during the election campaign.
Mr Bracks responded to the news by saying he thought he would be a good candidate and would look for opportunities in funds management.
Mr Bracks surprised many by defeating Jeff Kennett in 1999. He retired as Victorian premier in 2007.
From 2007 to 2012, Mr Bracks was a senior adviser to KPMG. Other post-politics roles have been serving as a special adviser on governance issues to the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, Xanana Gusmao, and chairman of Australian Subscription Television and Radio.