People & Appointments: UKSIF’s Alexander named chair of Global Sustainable Investment Alliance

The latest ESG movers and shakers: M&G head of sustainability governance Heslop to step down; Wiklund appointed as head of sustainable investment at Finland’s Church Pension Fund.

UKSIF CEO James Alexander has been named chair of the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, a collaboration of the largest sustainable finance organisations in major global financial markets. He replaces Simon O’Connor, who has held the post since 2020. O’Connor is also stepping down as CEO of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) after 10 years. RIAA is recruiting for his replacement, and is seeking applicants with a senior leadership background, as well as expertise in responsible investment.

Gareth Heslop is stepping down as group head of central sustainability governance at M&G. He joined the investment manager as global head of brand and marketing risk and controls at the start of 2020. He was previously UK risk and governance manager at Prudential, where he spent more than 17 years.

Anna-Stina Wiklund has been appointed as head of sustainable investing at the Church Pension Fund in Finland. She replaces Magdalena Lönnroth, who held the role for seven years before moving to the Society of Swedish Literature in Finland in May. Wiklund leaves Ålandsbanken Fund Management, where she was sustainability manager. She initially joined the manager in 2006 as a portfolio manager. Wiklund has also been a board member of Finsif since 2021.

Sofia Bartholdy has been promoted to responsible investment integration director at the Church Commissioners for England, the Church of England’s $10.3 billion endowment fund. She joined the fund a year ago as net-zero lead, having previously worked as an ESG analyst at Tesco Pension Investment. She also spent three years at the Principles for Responsible Investment as a senior analyst for the SDGs.

Sasja Beslik has joined sustainability software company Rimm Sustainability as a senior adviser for data analytics. He will continue in his role as chief investment strategy officer at impact manager SDG Impact Japan. Beslik, who left his role as head of sustainability at Danish pension fund PFA in April last year, has held a number of senior sustainability roles including head of sustainable finance development at bank J Safra Sarasin, head of sustainable finance at Nordea Wealth Management, and head of stewardship and engagement at ABN Amro.

Harvard Law School professor Jody Freeman has stepped down from the board of ConocoPhillips, a role that had attracted criticism from climate activists. She joined the board in 2012 and served as chair of its public policy committee. Freeman has been a professor at Harvard Law School for 18 years, and founded the university’s environmental and energy law programme in 2006. She also served as counsellor for energy and climate change at the White House between 2009 and 2010. She was appointed to Norges Bank Investment Management’s (NBIM) climate advisory board in January.

Barclays has appointed James Edmonds as global head of sustainable project finance. He joins from HSBC, where he was head of real assets finance for the Americas for 10 years.

Carbon credit standard-setter Verra has appointed three additional board members: Julie McLaughlin, Anshari Rahman and Mandy Rambharos. McLaughlin is a managing director at Alvarez & Marsal, where she specialises in energy transition. Rahman is director of policy and analytics at GenZero, an investment platform company focused on global decarbonisation. Rambharos is vice-president of global climate cooperation at the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) and previously served on Verra’s board between 2019 and 2021.

The AP funds’ Ethics Council – a collaboration between AP1, AP2, AP3, and AP4 – is recruiting a sustainability specialist. The successful candidate will work independently on sustainability issues and represent the Ethics Council to individual companies, in several networks, and in exchanges with the funds’ management organisations. Other responsibilities will include carrying out ongoing analysis and environmental monitoring.

Kasper Elmgreen has rejoined Nordea Asset Management as chief investment officer for fixed income and equities. He was formerly head of fundamental equities at the manager between 2014 and 2018 before moving to Amundi as head of equities.

Jasper Cox has been promoted to fixed-income specialist at the Principles for Responsible Investment. He joined the organisation in 2021 as a fixed-income investment practices analyst.

Nick Spooner has joined the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) as UK lead for company strategy. He leaves Robeco, where he spent nearly two years as a climate change engagement specialist. Prior to that, Spooner was climate change theme lead at Federated Hermes. He is also a climate and investing co-author at CFA UK and has an MSc in climate change, management and finance from Imperial College Business School.