Hermes Equity Ownership Services (EOS) is considering developing a full-time US office presence following the departure of North American engagement executive, Beth Joffe, to Goldman Sachs. Hermes Eos, the engagement arm of UK fund manager, Hermes, which is owned by the BT Pension Fund, is recruiting a replacement for Joffe, who joined Goldman as vice president, governance earlier this month. While Joffe’s EOS replacement will be initially UK-based, the ad says there is the possibility of future relocation to the US.
Hermes EOS chief executive, Colin Melvin, said on the potential development of a US office: “It’s an opportunity to develop a resource in the US, so it’s a possibility.” Hermes EOS doesn’t have its own office in the US, although parent, Hermes Fund Managers, already has offices in Boston and New York. Hermes hopes to make an appointment soon, with the person likely to be in post in the New Year.
Hermes EOS’s North America-based representation currently comprises non-executive director Stephen Davis, of the Yale School of Management, andToronto-based senior advisor Bill Mackenzie. EOS was set up in 2004 and now has 19 clients globally with over £60bn of assets under advice.
On Joffe’s departure, Melvin said:“We’re sorry to see her go. We’ll miss her energy and enthusiasm.” Joffe, known for her work say-on-pay efforts, was seen as a surprise hire by Goldman. Melvin said the appointment was “a sign of success for them [Goldman] to find value in what we do”. Melvin suggested that it would be as if the engagement community had someone “embedded” within the Wall Street giant.
Joffe has been a vocal supporter of splitting the roles of chairman and CEO, a shareholder issue at Goldmans, which has faced governance criticism itself from investors during the financial crisis. A spokesman for Goldman Sachs said Joffe had become “a member of the investor relations team who deals with investor engagement,” but declined to comment further.
Hermes’ Colin Melvin features in The Bottom Line on the BBC World Service