Government appoints John Pollaers OAM to chair AFCA

  • By Elizabeth Fry

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has appointed John Pollaers OAM as its next chair succeeding former Liberal Government minister, Helen Coonan.

Pollaers is Chancellor of Swinburne University, chair of the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council, chair of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee. The professor is also chair of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce and a former member of the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce.  

During his career, he has headed up major companies, including Pacific Brands and Foster’s Group. 

Commenting on the appointment, Coonan said Pollaers was an experienced chair whose career is characterised by a commitment to strong governance and visionary leadership. 

“He has always created strong, effective relationships between industry, government, and consumer bodies in all sectors he had been involved in," she said. 

For his part, Pollaers noted AFCA’s core purpose to deliver fair outcomes to members, consumers, and small businesses. 

“AFCA provides an essential service to the community. AFCA’s role to effectively work with financial firms, consumers, and small businesses to resolve financial complaints, often in complex situations, is critical,” Pollaers said.  

“I am delighted to be working alongside a committed and experienced board to support chief ombudsman and chief executive David Locke as we continue to deliver on AFCA’s core purpose to provide fair and independent solutions for financial disputes and support our members to raise standards and minimise disputes.” 

AFCA’s board acknowledged Coonan’s contribution as AFCA’s inaugural chair when it took over the work of three bodies to provide a single external dispute resolution service with an expanded jurisdiction, increased membership, and the capacity to award higher levels of financial compensation to consumers and small businesses.  

“Helen has established AFCA as an important national body, helping industry and thousands of consumers to resolve often intractable disputes. 

During her tenure as chair, AFCA received over 188,000 disputes with over $522 million being paid in compensation to individual consumers and small business owners.