“The investment community at large have been really supportive of Andrew who did take a lot of the brunt for the bank on himself.
“I don’t deny it was a very difficult period for him and I do admire people who come through a very challenging period because they are much richer for their experience as a result.
“He is a guy who ran PricewaterhouseCoopers and was an extremely important officer for one of Australia’s largest institutions while making a very major contribution over decades to philanthropic causes – that’s an unusual character.”
Mr Forrest said his family late last year made a $200 million donation to the Minderoo Foundation, taking its total assets to $847 million.
He hinted that he would like to see the Minderoo Foundation have assets of $1 billion “in the not too distant future”.
He said with the prospect of the Minderoo Foundation “clicking over to a round number it would need an executive with an intimate understanding of philanthrophy and of business.”
Mr Hagger is chairman of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre Appeal, founding director of The Wheeler Centre in Melbourne, and senior international advisor to Not for Sale, a charity based in San Francisco that aims to end human slavery.
“Andrew has a very large interest in cancer and we have invested $100 million to eliminate cancer this year,” Mr Forrest said.
“We were very attuned to his philanthropic interests and I wanted to really thoroughly explore that he had a hard value-for-money, priorities-driven attitude to everything, not just business.
“A lot of people come into the not-for-profit sector and for some reason leave behind their really serious business skills which would make that not-for-profit sector much more effective and have much greater reach, have much greater impact and be much more accountable.
“He’s a fiercely determined but gentle soul.”
Mr Forrest said he wants to grow the Minderoo investment portfolio to include more market-driven solutions to world scale problems, such asover fishing of the oceans.
“We will be doing investments which really assist our causes, such as slavery, cancer and saving the world’s oceans but still keeping up a supply of fish protein to our kids,” he said.
But at this stage he has no plans to move into financial services.
Mr Hagger, who was travelling in South America with Not for Sale, said in a statement: “I am thrilled to have been given the honour of leading the Minderoo team at this key time in its history.”
“I look forward to working with the team and in particular serving Andrew & Nicola Forrest whose vision for Minderoo is extraordinarily exciting, bringing positive impact on a global scale.”
He will move with his family from Melbourne to Perth when he takes up the new role on March 18.