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Firstmac welcomes 1st female board member

The non-bank lender has welcomed its first female board member to its ranks, as it farewells long-serving board member Andrew Kemp.

Sophie Mitchell, a non-executive director (and former senior executive) of stockbroker Morgans, has joined the Firstmac board as an independent director. 

Ms Mitchell has over 20 years of corporate advisory, capital markets, and equity research experience and also has extensive experience as a company director in both the profit and not-for-profit sectors. 

She is currently chairman of ASX-listed Apollo Tourism & Leisure Ltd, a director of Corporate Travel Management Limited as well as chairman of the Queensland Advisory Council for AustralianSuper and director of Morgans Foundation Limited. 

The Brisbane-based independent director commenced her position on the Firstmac board on 1 November.

Welcoming Ms Mitchell to the board, Firstmac managing director Kim Cannon noted that the new addition was the lender’s first female board member, adding she would be a “valuable addition” who would broaden the board’s diversity and expertise.   

“Sophie is a highly-regarded professional who brings considerable experience in both finance and governance to Firstmac,” Mr Cannon said. 

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“Her appointment as an independent director reinforces our commitment to the highest standards of corporate governance and we look forward to working with her as we continue to drive competition in the Australian lending market.” 

Ms Mitchell said she was excited to be joining the board of Firstmac at such an important time in its history as it managed ongoing rapid growth amid a challenging economic environment. 

“Kim and his family have created an amazing Queensland business that is now one of Australia’s largest non-bank mortgage providers,” Ms Mitchell said.

I’m looking forward to working with Firstmac’s experienced board and management team and seeing the company deliver the tremendous growth potential ahead of it.”

Ms Mitchell’s appointment follows the retirement of long-time independent chairman Andrew Kemp after 20 years of “distinguished service”.

Mr Kemp has worked in a range of capacities at Firstmac since joining as a director in January 2002 including as independent chairman of the investment committee for Firstmac’s managed investment fund, High Livez.

He has worked in the finance industry for nearly 40 years, having headed up Brisbane-based corporate advisory company Huntington Group Pty Limited and having held a range of chartered accountancy roles at KPMG and Littlewoods as well as merchant banking with AIFC (an affiliate of ANZ Banking Group) and Huntington Group.

Noting Mr Kemp's retirement, Mr Cannon said: "On behalf of the board I would like to thank Andrew for the guiding role he has played, leading the board through a uniquely challenging and transformative period for Firstmac. 

"Andrew has made a very significant contribution to the Firstmac’s success over the last two decades and he leaves us strategically well-positioned for the future. 

"We wish him all the best in his future endeavours." 

Mr Kemp will be replaced by current board member Bede King, a long-term non-executive member of the Firstmac board and managing partner of Tobin King Lateef Solicitors.

[Related: Lenders ranked in annual independent broker survey]

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