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Our Board

The Financial Ombudsman Service is governed by an independent board of consumer representatives and financial services industry representatives. The role of the Board is to monitor the performance of the Financial Ombudsman Service, provide direction to the Ombudsman on policy matters, set the budget and review from time to time, the Terms of Reference including the jurisdictional limits of the Ombudsman.

The Board does not get involved in the detail of cases which come before the Ombudsman as that would prejudice the independence of the Ombudsman.  The decisions of the Ombudsman are independent of any interference from the Board.

Michael Lavarch

Professor The Hon. Michael Lavarch AO, (Chair of the Board)

Michael Lavarch was appointed a transition director on incorporation of the company, for a term expiring on 31 May 2009. When the new Board was formed on 1 June 2009, he was appointed a director and Independent Chair of the Board. He was reappointed as Chair of the Board on 20 February 2015 for a further three-year term commencing on 1 June 2015.

Michael is the Commissioner, Risk Analysis and Investigation, for the Australian Skills Quality Authority, and formerly Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law at the Queensland University of Technology. He is a former Federal Attorney-General and a former Secretary-General of the Law Council of Australia. He has extensive board experience, having held public and private company directorships, and is currently Chief Adjudicator of the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code adjudication panel and a director of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

In 2012, Michael was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to law, education and human rights.

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Robert Belleville

Robert Belleville was appointed an industry director on 25 February 2010 and reappointed for a further term on 25 February 2016.

Robert is a member of the Insurance Manufacturers of Australia (IMA) Board, Chair of the IMA Board Risk Committee and a member of its Audit Committee. He is also the Chair of the Insurance Council of Australia’s Consumer Liaison Forum.

He was employed by AAMI for more than 37 years, culminating in his appointment as Chief Executive in 2002. Soon afterwards he took on the position of Chief Executive of Promina’s Direct Division, adding APIA, Shannons and Just Car Insurance to his responsibilities. Following the successful offer by Suncorp to take over Promina, Robert was appointed Group Executive, Personal Lines, which added GIO and Suncorp portfolios to his oversight. Despite retiring in December 2008, Robert stayed on with Suncorp as a part-time consultant until September 2009.

David Coorey

David Coorey

David Coorey was appointed a consumers’ director on 1 June 2009 and reappointed on 20 February 2015 for a further two-year term commencing on 1 June 2015. This was extended by a further 12 months in May 2017.

He is a senior lawyer with the Civil Division section of the Legal Aid Commission of NSW, which he joined in 2002. Since commencing with the Legal Aid Commission, he has been actively involved in policy work in consumer law, with particular interest in policy issues that affect consumers of insurance products.

David previously worked with the law firm Freehills for more than three years, including a one-year pro bono secondment to Kingsford Legal Centre. He is also a former member of the Insurance Council of Australia Consumer Reference Group. He has worked in various areas of civil law including insurance, credit, consumer and trade practices litigation, as well as human rights and discrimination law.

Jennifer Darbyshire Board member photo

Jennifer Darbyshire

Jennifer Darbyshire was appointed an industry director on 8 June 2012 and reappointed on 20 February 2015 for a further three-year term commencing on 1 June 2015.

Jennifer joined National Australia Bank in 2006 and was appointed General Counsel, Corporate in March 2016. From late 2014 to early 2016, Jennifer was the General Manager, Group Regulatory Strategy & Affairs. From mid-2012 to late 2014, she was General Counsel and Company Secretary for NAB’s UK banking operations.

Jennifer has previously worked in private legal practice (including Mallesons in Melbourne and Linklaters in London) and in major Australian corporations (including Coles Myer). She has a corporate legal and executive background with extensive governance, regulatory and transactional experience.

Jennifer was the Chair of Heide Museum of Modern Art until January 2016 (and a director since 2006). Previous directorships include St Vincent’s & Mercy Private Hospital (2006 to 2011) and St Vincent’s Advisory Council Melbourne (2011 to 2012).

Carmel Franklin

Carmel Franklin

Carmel Franklin was appointed a consumers’ director on 20 February 2015 for a three-year term commencing on 1 June 2015.

Carmel has been involved with consumer issues for a number of years, including as the Director of Care Financial Counselling and the Consumer Law Centre of the ACT, as the Chair of Financial Counselling Australia and through her role on the boards of the National Information Centre on Retirement Investments and the Welfare Rights and Legal Centre. In addition to these positions, she is a director of the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission.

She is a former member of the ASIC Consumer Advisory Panel as well as the FOS Consumer Liaison Group.

Elissa Freeman

Elissa Freeman

Elissa Freeman was appointed a consumers’ director on 21 February 2014 and commenced her three-year term on 1 June 2014. She was reappointed in May 2017 for a further three-year term commencing 1 June 2017.

Elissa has advocated for consumers’ rights in financial services, telecommunications and energy and water industries in her roles at CHOICE, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

She has represented consumers at the ASIC Consumer Advisory Panel, the ACCC Consumer Consultative Committee and as a council member of the Energy and Water Ombudsman of NSW.

Elissa was previously Chair of the Financial Rights Legal Centre (then the Consumer Credit Legal Centre of NSW) and Manager of Consumer Policy at CHOICE.

Louise Lakomy

Louise Lakomy

Louise Lakomy was appointed an industry director for a three-year term commencing on 1 June 2015. She is a certified financial planner with over 15 years’ experience in financial planning. In her current role, she is a director with Crystal Wealth Partners, a boutique financial planning business offering holistic investment and strategic advice to their clients.

Louise holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), majoring in finance and funds management and is a Graduate of the Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

She previously served on the Board of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) of Australia for the maximum term of six years and is a former member of the Financial Planning Education Council, the FPA risk and audit committee and the FPA’s Professionalism Committee. Louise has also held senior roles with large institutions including Westpac and St George bank and several smaller advisory firms.

Catriona Lowe

Catriona Lowe

Catriona Lowe was appointed a consumers’ director on 1 June 2009 and reappointed on 20 February 2015 for a further three-year term commencing on 1 June 2015.

Catriona is a member of the Boards of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and Legal Practice Liability Committee. She is also a director of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority and Chair of the ACCC Consumer Consultative Committee.

She is formerly the Treasurer of the Consumers’ Federation of Australia and Co-Chief Executive Officer of the Consumer Action Law Centre. Before joining Consumer Action, she was a director in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Policy and Liaison Branch. Catriona was deputy director and the first principal solicitor of the legal practice at Consumer Law Centre Victoria and spent five years in private practice as a litigation lawyer.

Catriona has also served as a member of the Board of the National Information Centre on Retirement Investment, a member of ASIC’s External Advisory Panel, a member of the National Australia Bank Social Responsibility Advisory Council, a member of the Insurance Council of Australia Consumer Reference Group, and a member of the Motor Car Traders’ Guarantee Fund Claims Committee.

Johanna Turner

Johanna Turner

Johanna Turner has gained extensive executive experience in the financial services industry over the past 25 years, working in domestic and international banks, exchanges and regulatory bodies. She has expertise in risk management, compliance, regulation, policy and corporate governance. She combines this with extensive industry experience in consumer banking, consumer credit, wealth management, corporate and investment banking, exchange-traded funds and derivative markets. As a Managing Director of Citibank, Johanna held the positions of Chief Risk Officer and Chief Country Compliance Officer. She has also held senior roles at Macquarie Bank, the Australian Stock Exchange, the Sydney Futures Exchange and ASIC. 

Johanna is an independent compliance committee member for Blackrock Investment Management (Australia) Limited and Fundhost Limited. She is also a member of the NSW Government Council for Women’s Economic Opportunity. Johanna was formerly a board member of Women in Banking and Finance and Chair of their Audit, Risk and Governance Committee.