People & Appointments: Nico Aspinall joins Newton IM as product advocacy head

The latest ESG movers and shakers: Nazarova-Doyle to leave Scottish Widows; PRI nominates Kehoe as next chair.

Newton Investment Management has appointed Nico Aspinall as head of product advocacy, a newly created role within its responsible investment team. He will have a global remit overseeing the development of Newton’s sustainable investment capabilities. He will draw on his experience in Defined Contribution (DC) pension schemes, working with such schemes and their advisers on responsible investment solutions. His former roles include chief investment officer at Connected Asset Management and B&CE. Aspinall has also worked as head of UK DC investment consulting at WTW for more than four years and founded his DC consulting business Nico Aspinall Consulting in 2022. At Newton, he will report to global head of sustainable investment Therese Niklasson.

Scottish Widows’ head of responsible investments and stewardship Maria Nazarova-Doyle is leaving after more than three years at the pension fund. In a LinkedIn post, she said that she would be leaving the pension fund in the next few months, and that she would announce her next role in due course. She will continue in her role as board member at the UK Sustainable Investment Forum (UKSIF). Scottish Widows said they will announce Nazarova-Doyle’s successor in due course.

The Principles for Responsible Investment’s (PRI) board has recommended Conor Kehoe as its next chair from 2024. He will be formally proposed at the PRI’s upcoming signatory general meeting in September, with his final appointment being contingent on a simple majority of PRI signatories voting to confirm him in the role. He replaces Martin Skancke who served as chair for almost 10 years. Kehoe spent the majority of his career at McKinsey and Company. He also serves as chair of the International Integrated Reporting Council – which is part of the International Financial Reporting Standards – and is a member of the G7 impact taskforce.

M&G Investments has appointed Oliver Grayer as stewardship director. He leaves his role of programme director at the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) where he worked for more than six years.

Orestis Velentzas has been promoted to climate mitigation and banking lead at the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). He initially joined as senior net-zero and sustainable finance adviser in 2022. Prior to that, he spent more than seven years consulting at Accenture.

Steven Fries has been appointed as a member of the UK Climate Change Committee. He is an economist at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School and Peterson Institute for International Economics. Fries was the chief economist at the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change between 2011 and 2016, and has also worked as chief economist at Shell.

KKR’s Asia impact platform head Chee-Wei Wong is leaving the firm after three years. The position is due to be filled by internal candidate George Aitken, according to affiliate title New Private Markets. Wong joined the firm in 2020, having previously worked as a managing director at US private equity firm Tailwind Capital. He also worked as a director at Nordic PE firm EQT between 2010 and 2019.

The PRI is recruiting an in-house legal counsel, its first legal hire. The role will oversee all legal obligations with regards to the PRI Association and its entities, and implement legal structures and training across the organisation. The candidate will be also responsible for coordinating legal advice on issues related to responsible investment and key initiatives that the PRI provides to signatories.

It is also recruiting a responsible investment manager for its Chinese office. The candidate’s main duties will be to enhance responsible investment awareness and practices across the country, as well as set out a strategy on how best to develop responsible investment ecosystems. The role also involves coordinating the local implementation of global PRI initiatives and managing the PRI’s recruitment of new signatories in the region. The deadline for applications is 16 July.

EU standard setter EFRAG is recruiting an environmental reporting specialist to join its sustainability reporting team. Applications close on 15 August.

The finance for environmental and social systemic centre at the University of Cambridge’s department for land economy is recruiting two research assistants. The candidates will work on a mixed portfolio of projects including developing a 1.5C-aligned corporate bond index, building an action-oriented initiative with a group of major global asset owners, and preparing for senior-level bank engagements. The deadline for applications is 28 July.

Big Society Capital has appointed two non-executive directors to its board, Alison Evans and Rosie Ginday. Evans is the former director-general and vice-president for evaluation at the World Bank Group between 2019 and 2023. She is also a non-resident fellow at the Centre for Global Development. Ginday is the founder of social enterprise Miss Macaroon, a Birmingham-based company which reinvests 100 percent of profits into helping young people.