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People & Appointments, May 29: PPF, First State Super, Church of England, Ethos, Groupama and more

The latest ESG movers and shakers.

Claire Curtin, Head of Research, Financial Institutions at environmental data firm Trucost, has been appointed Head of ESG at the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), the UK’s £30bn pension lifeboat fund. Curtin – whose has also worked at EIRIS (now VigeoEiris) – will be responsible for developing and implementing the fund’s responsible investment strategy.
Deanne Stewart, CEO at MetLife’s Australian life insurance business, has been appointed CEO at Australian superannuation fund, First State Super. She replaces outgoing CEO Michael Dwyer, who recently announced his decision to retire from the A$90bn (€57bn) fund. Stewart previously held senior leadership roles with BT Financial Group and Merrill Lynch Investment Management in New York.
Adam Matthews, Head of Engagement for the Church of England Pensions Board, has been named Director of Ethics and Engagement at the investment body which manages £2.3bn on behalf of the UK’s state church. The appointment reflects a “determination to become a leading global pension fund in terms of both ethical and responsible investment”, according to a statement. Matthews, who Co-Chairs the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), will join the Board’s Executive Team, which includes Chief Investment Officer, Pierre Jameson, and new CEO, John Ball. Following the appointment, Stephen Barrie, Deputy Secretary of the Church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group becomes Acting Secretary, a role that was also previously held by Matthews.
The Church of England Pensions Board has also announced that it will work with fellow Church investment body the Church Commissioners to establish separate in-house engagement teams. Both bodies will continue to share a joint voting and screening function – to be hosted by the Commissioners – but the changes mean that Sheila Stefani, Voting and Screening Manager, and Carlota Garcia-Manas, Engagement Manager, move over to the Church Commissioners.
Former Swiss parliamentarian Rudolf Rechsteiner has been put forward as the new Chair of The Ethos Foundation, the Swiss governance and SRI advisor comprising more than 200 pension funds, ahead of the annual meeting on the June 14. Beth Krasna, Advisor at Swiss-based ESG research house Covalence, has also been proposed by the Ethos’ Board to be Chair of its subsidiary service provider, Ethos Services. Both roles are currently held by founding member and former CEO Dominique Biedermann, who is stepping down after 21 years. The decision to transition to two Chairs was taken by the Ethos’ board earlier this year.
French asset manager Groupama has reportedly named its Research Chief Marie-Pierre Peillon as Head of ESG and Strategy, as it seeks to ramp up its integration of ESG in its investment decisions. Peillon will be supported by Aurélie de Barochez.The Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG) has elected Giovanni Melandri, Chair of the Human Foundation; Darren Walker, Chair of the Ford Foundation; Rosemary Addis, Chair of Impact Investing Australia and Uli Grabenwarter, Head of Strategic Development Equity at the European Investment Fund to its board of trustees, according to CEO Amit Bhatia. In a tweet, Bhatia also said GSG’s board will be nine members in total, with Nick O’ Donohoe, Chief Executive of the CDC Group, as Deputy Chair. GSG, which seeks to catalyse individual country action on impact investment, is chaired by Sir Ronald Cohen.
Antoine Deltour, a former PwC accountant and whistleblower, has been acquitted by the Luxembourg Court of Appeal. Deltour blew the whistle over PwC’s role in brokering ‘sweetheart’ tax deals between its clients and the Luxembourg government. The case was known as the LuxLeaks case. The Magistrates Court of Luxembourg had found him guilty of theft and other charges. Detour was given a suspended prison sentence of 12 months and a fine of €1,500. LuxLeaks led to the creation in 2015 of a Special Committee on Tax Rulings (TAXE committee) at the European Parliament, aimed at investigating tax rulings and aggressive avoidance in the EU. The European Commission also upped the ante in its tax policies and measures to fight tax avoidance. “As the Court of Cassation did before, the Court of Appeal has fully recognized Antoine Deltour as a whistleblower within the meaning of the European Court of Human Rights,” said the Committee to Support Antoine Deltour. The case of the other LuxLeaks’ PwC whistleblower, Raphaël Halet, is still pending.
Outspoken accounting academic Prem Sikka, who co-founded the Tax Justice Network, has been asked by the UK’s opposition Labour party to examine and forward proposals to “reinvigorate” the UK’s creaking regulatory system. In a post on Labour’s website announcing the appointment, Shadow Chancellor, John McDonell said: “People are sick of losing their jobs, their pensions and their shareholding from corporate failures, but watching the culprits keep their large pay offs, pension pots and bonuses”.
Former UK Shadow Minister for State and Pensions, Gregg McClymont has been named Non-Executive Director at TISA, the UK’s consumer “financial wellbeing” association. McClymont, who is currently Head of Retirement at Aberdeen Standard Investments, is joined on the board by Jane Goodland, Responsible Business Director at Quilter Plc, the London-Johannesburg dual listed financial group.