People & Appointments: Alecta fires CEO Magnus Billing

The latest ESG movers and shakers: AIGCC adds two board members; Stör promoted to head of ESG integration at Munich Re.

Alecta’s CEO Magnus Billing is stepping down with immediate effect following large losses from investments in a number of US banks, the pension fund announced on Tuesday. Last month, Alecta – Sweden’s biggest pension fund – said it had lost SEK 19.6 billion ($1.9 billion; EUR 1.7bn) from its holdings in Silicon Valley Bank, First Republic Bank and Signature Bank. Tuesday’s announcement said these losses “severely damaged the trust” in Alecta’s asset management and that new leadership is needed to “re-establish trust”. Deputy CEO Katarina Thorslund will lead the fund during the process to find a new CEO, it said. Billing’s departure comes after seven years of leading the pension fund, during which he became a major name in sustainable finance. For example, he was the only pension fund member of the EU’s High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, an advisory group behind a number of recommendations that shaped the EU’s regulatory work in this space.

Susanne Dräger has left the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) to join the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation as strategic affairs director. She spent more than three years at the PRI, working across policy and reporting, most recently as sustainability reporting specialist. Dräger was also formerly policy and public affairs manager at CDP. She has left her role as an ISSB technical reference group member but will continue as a member of the Accounting Standards Committee of Germany’s climate reporting working group.

The PRI is also saying goodbye to Darron Scorgie, who has left his role as head of Africa after less than two years to join Old Mutual Limited as head of responsible investment.

The Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC) has announced the addition of two board members. Chunyen Liu is AIA Singapore’s chief investment officer. Pru Bennett is a partner at Brunswick Group, where she advises on ESG in the APAC region. Liu has worked in various risk management roles at AIA Singapore since joining in 2008. Bennett is an independent director and chair of the financial risk and audit committee at Australia’s UN Global Compact. She also formerly worked as head of stewardship for the APAC region at BlackRock between 2010 and 2019.

Lorenz Stör has been promoted to head of ESG integration at Munich Re, nine months after joining the insurance giant as senior sustainability consultant. He previously spent six years at ISS ESG, where he worked in sustainability roles including head of climate analytics and responsible investment senior adviser.

The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) is recruiting environmental reporting specialists to support its existing team. The organisation is hiring for a permanent or seconded Brussels-based individual with proven environmental knowledge and expertise. Applications close on 15 May.

Edit Kiss has co-founded Integrity Global Partners and is chief commercial officer. She leaves her position as chief investment officer at Revalue Nature, which she took up in April 2022. Prior to that, she spent eight years at Mirova Natural Capital as investment and development director. Kiss will continue in her various advisory roles, including co-chair of an International Emissions Trading Association working group, steering committee member of the Coalition for Private Investment in Conservation, and non-executive director at The Real Wild Estates Company. Kiss has a postgraduate in tropical forestry from Bangor University.

US SIF has named Rachel Curley director of policy and programmes. Before joining the initiative, Curley worked as a democracy advocate for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, where she supported the nonprofit’s work on democracy and investor protection issues.

UKSIF is hiring a head of public affairs to work closely with the organisation’s network, as well as government, politicians and the media. The successful candidate will develop and lead UKSIF’s new public affairs programme, which builds on existing advocacy activities. Applications close on 17 April.

Sophie Johnson has been promoted to head of governance and proxy voting at Royal London Asset Management. She has held several governance roles during her five years at the firm, most recently corporate governance manager. She also worked as a stewardship analyst at Rathbones and in governance roles at ISS.

ShareAction is recruiting a senior biodiversity policy officer to develop nature policies to build on the NGO’s work in the area. The candidate will develop policy recommendations, draft amendments to biodiversity-related legislation, and produce consultation responses and briefings for EU and UK policy stakeholders, under guidance from the UK and EU policy and biodiversity teams. Applications close on 24 April.

ESG-advisory firm Chronos Sustainability has appointed Sheila Courtney as senior manager, responsible chemicals. The chartered chemical engineer leaves her project manager position at SK biotek. She will lead Chronos’s chemicals-focused programmes and initiatives, as well as develop and implement responsible chemicals strategies.

The Responsible Investment Association Australia (RIAA) has appointed Shalini Samuel as head of certification. She leaves her position as director of certification and standards leading at B Lab, the non-profit entity in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand that certifies entities as B Corps.