People & Appointments: Franklin Templeton VP suspended over racism allegations, Robeco CIO stands down

The latest ESG movers and shakers

Update: The section on Amy Cooper in this article has been updated to include the latest developments. 

Amy Cooper, Vice President and Head of Investment Solutions at Franklin Templeton Investments, has been put on “administrative leave” after allegations of racism following footage of an incident in Central Park, New York, over the weekend. Cooper is seen in the video having a dispute with another park user over her dog being unleashed in a prohibited area. As she calls the police, she tells the park user: “I'm going to tell them there is an African-American man threatening my life”. In a statement on Twitter, Franklin Templeton said: “We take these matters very seriously and we do not condone racism of any kind”, adding that it was investigating. Thousands of people have called for Cooper’s dismissal, with one Twitter user responding to Franklin Templeton’s statement by saying: “If you dont fire her you will NEVER recover from this in the eyes of your customer”. 

Update: Since publication, Franklin Templeton has made this statement: “Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park yesterday, we have made the decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately. We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton.”

Robeco says it has agreed with its Head of Investments, Peter Ferket, that he will resign this week citing “personal reasons”. Ferket, who has been with the investment house since 1997, will also leave his position as a member of the Executive Committee and Management Board. Robeco is now on the hunt for a replacement, and said in a statement that Ferket’s Deputy, Victor Verberk, will take over responsibilities in the interim. Ferket said: “After dealing with a personal challenge, my perspective on what I find most important and valuable in life has changed. Now is a good time for me to move on and discover new challenges outside of Robeco.”

NN Investment Partners has appointed Marcin Adamczyk as Head of Emerging Markets Debt. Adamczyk will report to Edith Siermann, NN IP's Head of Fixed Income and Responsible Investing, who previously held the role of Head of EMD in the interim since November. His predecessor, Marcelo Assalin, left the firm in 2019 over disagreements regarding ESG integration within EMD strategies, later joining US manager William Blair together with nine former NN IP colleagues. Adamczyk joins NN IP from PZU Group, where he was CEO of its asset management unit and later acted as advisor to the board of the group.   

Ex-McKinsey & Company Senior Partner Conor Kehoe is the new Chair of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), replacing Dominic Barton, who left after just two years to become Canadas Ambassador to China. Kehoe oversaw a review of the corporate reporting system for McKinsey last year, and will work with the IIRC “to address confusion in the reporting landscape through convergence”, according to a statement.

Nate Hurst will join Wells Fargo on June 1 to lead Corporate Responsibility, Philanthropy, Community Relations and Sustainability efforts. Hurst joins Wells Fargo from HP, where he was Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer. He previously served as Director of Sustainability, Public Affairs and Government Relations for Walmart and as a member of The White House Council on Environmental Quality for former President Bill Clinton. Hurst will also serve as President of the Wells Fargo Foundation. 

KfW’s Joachim Nagel has been appointed Deputy Head of the Banking Department by The Bank for International Settlements. Nagel is a member of the Executive Board of the German state-owned development bank – a leader in sustainable finance globally, particularly in respect of green bonds – and spent 17 years at the Deutsche Bundesbank. He will begin his five-year term on 1 November, succeeding Jean-François Rigaudy, who retires on 31 August. 

Simon Dingemans, Chair of the UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC), will step down at the end of this month. Dingemans was appointed last July to chair the audit watchdog and oversee its transformation to the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA). The FRC says Dingemans is stepping down because of conflicts between the part-time role and other positions he is interested in taking. Dingemans was Chief Financial Officer of GlaxoSmithKline for over eight years. 

The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) is recruiting a Head of Climate Change to build climate change capacity and ensure delivery against key programme objectives. The role will include oversight of selected PRI climate programmes, including The Investor Agenda, and external signatory outreach across geographic markets. 

José Meijer has been named to the supervisory board for Dutch pension giant APG, succeeding Edith Snoeij, who retired from the supervisory board after eight years. Meijer has served on several boards over the past forty years within the trade union, government, addiction care and pension sectors, and has been Vice-Chair of the ABP pension fund – whose money is run through APG – since 2013.

Petra Pflaum, Chief Investment Officer for Responsible Investment at DWS, has become a member of the German Government's Sustainable Finance Advisory Council. Pflaum was selected by the German Federal Ministry of Finance, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy. 

Simon Cooper has been appointed as a Director at Climate Bonds Initiative. Cooper, who works at management consultancy Oliver Wyman, where he is a member of the sustainable finance platform, took up the role at the NGO in March, but it was confirmed today (May 26) on Companies House. 

ClientEarth has promoted Peter Barnett to Senior Lawyer and Southeast, East and South Asia Lead. Barnett was previously Litigation Lawyer for the campaign group, which he joined in 2018.