PRI to announce Engshuber’s replacement as Advisory Council chair in early 2014 – Reynolds

Initiative also recruiting a US Network Manager and Gifford’s successor

The UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) plans to announce a successor to Wolfgang Engshuber, the outgoing Chair of the PRI Advisory Council, in early 2014.

Addressing a meeting of the PRI’s German Network in Frankfurt last week, Fiona Reynolds, managing director of the PRI’s Secretariat, said the search committee was close to deciding on a candidate and that hence, an announcement could be made in the first months of next year.

The committee was formed last August after Engshuber decided to resign his chairmanship of the PRI Association Board due to “serious differences” with the Board, but remained on the Advisory Council until a replacement is announced. Engshuber did not elaborate, but interim Board Chair Glen Saunders said the body was not surprised by the move given the demands put on a person with two chairmanships (RI coverage). Engshuber officially leaves the PRI at the start of 2014.

Reynolds also told the German Network that the interviews to find a replacement for Diane Bratcher, who quit earlier this year as the PRI’s US Network Manager, had begun.

The PRI believes that raising its exposure in the US, the world’s largest investment market, is crucial to making responsible investment part of the mainstream.Asked by RI whether James Gifford, the former executive director of the PRI’s Secretariat, would be replaced, Reynolds said yes, but added that that person’s exact role still had to be defined.

Turning to the other topics, Reynolds said she felt the PRI’s members would find reporting a lot easier with the new “streamlined” Reporting Framework. She also lauded the PRI’s efforts to promote transparency about responsible investment generally, saying that next year, the organisation expects 1,000 investment institutions to report on the issue in some detail. “Consider that prior to the PRI initiative, the number of investors reporting on this issue could be counted on two hands,” she said.

Reynolds also said that since the PRI’s Clearinghouse initiative was launched, around 410 investment institutions had participated in 480 collaborative engagement efforts.

“For next year, the Secretariat is targeting smaller engagements to have more of an impact and to have more depth,” she said, adding that these centred on hydraulic fracking, labour relations, the agricultural supply chain, corruption and sustainable stock exchanges.