When Scott Hartley was appointed CEO of Sunsuper, it made waves. The company, one of the biggest superannuation funds in Australia, had managed to secure the NAB-MLC executive, convincing him to come across to the not-for-profit superannuation sector. With a long history in the financial industry, a background initially in marketing, and more than 15 years experience in management roles, Scott seemed the perfect choice to take Sunsuper to the next level. And although he has enjoyed his career, Scott admits that he never planned to become a CEO.

“I studied a bachelor of business marketing at Queensland University of Technology initially,” Scott says. “Marketing was a great degree to do as an undergraduate because it really gave you that consumer perspective, thinking about micro-economics and markets and branding and communication. Then I left Brisbane and joined Mobil Oil, spending 10 years in the oil industry. At Mobil Oil, I was working in a combination of line management and strategy roles.

“After Mobil Oil, I spent 15 years with MLC, and two years after I joined, NAB acquired MLC. In my 15 years with them, I had a variety of roles, starting in marketing and then working my way through different parts of the organisation. At different times, I ran the financial planning business and institutional investments, and I had a couple of stints in the corporate strategy space. I finished with four years as the head of corporate institutional wealth, and we had exceptional performance and fabulous success.”

Scott never had an ambition to be a CEO—it just came about through natural progression.

“I enjoy the role, but I was never focused on becoming a CEO,” he says. “What I have always focused on, wherever I have been, is how do I improve what it is I’m working on. Whatever I have responsibility for, whether that be a business or a team, I look at improving it.”