BlackRock names new global corporate governance and RI head

Responsible investment leadership change at €2.5trn asset giant

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has said Michelle Edkins will take over from Abe Friedman as its Global Head of Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment.

Friedman, who was a founding partner of proxy firm Glass Lewis, where he was chief policy officer and general counsel, has decided to leave BlackRock. He is believed to be considering launching a new governance focused activist fund.
BlackRock has more than $3.5trn (€2.5trn) in assets under management and over $200bn in responsible investment mandates.
Edkins is currently BlackRock’s Head of Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment for Europe, the Middle East and Africa and the firm is looking for a replacement in that role. Edkins is a board member atthe International Corporate Governance Network and was a founding partner of Governance for Owners. She was previously the head of governance at Hermes in London.

Both Friedman and Edkins joined BlackRock when the company acquired Barclays Global Investors in 2009.

The latest move comes as United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment signatory BlackRock is also boosting its governance presence in Asia.
Earlier this week it named Clarence Yang as its first Asian head of corporate governance and SRI (socially responsible investing).

Last month BlackRock’s iShares exchange traded funds (ETFs) division launched two environmental, social and governance-themed equity funds on the London Stock Exchange.