RI People & Appointments, August 22: Russell Investments’ Mike Clark starts own consulting firm

The latest ESG movers and shakers

Mike Clark, who is leaving his role as Director of Responsible Investment at Russell Investments after 21 years with the company, has formed his own firm. Ario Advisory offers responsible investment advisory services, working strategically with trustees, investment boards, executives and others. Clark, who chaired Russell Investments’ global Sustainability Council since it was formed in 2009, also represents the UK actuarial profession on the Advisory Council of the Smith School Sustainable Finance Programme at Oxford University. He told RI: “This is a great time to work with investors, especially asset owners, who are looking to develop their responsible investment strategy and practice.” He can be contacted via email.

Ingrid Bonde has stepped down as Chief Financial Officer at Vattenfall, the state-owned Swedish energy group that is focusing on renewables. She joined in May 2012 as CFO having been on the board for a year when she was head of pensions firm AMF. Vattenfall said it would start a search for her successor. Announcement

Drew Buckley is now Director of New Business Development at the Governance Center at the Conference Board, the US-based non-profit business membership and research group. He was formerly Director of Sales, the Americas, at GMI Ratings, the governance firm that was acquired by MSCI in 2014.

Sustainalytics’ head of green bonds in Europe, Farnam Bidgoli, is leaving to return to full-time education. Bidgoli oversees Sustainalytics’ second-party opinion services on green and social bonds, based out of its London office. She also manages the company’s Global Compact Compliance Service and Engagement Support Services. After completing a degree in international relations and peace and conflict studies at the University of Toronto, Bidgoli worked in political risk management in Iran, as well as working on mining and community development issues for the Devonshire Initiative. She will now begin an MBA at Oxford’s Said Business School. Sustainalytics will not replace Bidgoli, and her responsibilities will fall to Vikram Puppala, the firm’s head of carbon solutions, sustainability bonds and sustainability indices.

Stephen Cohen, the former CEO at engagement specialist Governance for Owners (GO), is now a member of the Gambling Commission, the UK body which regulates all forms of gambling in the UK. Cohen, the ex-CEO of Europe at Putnam Investments, is also a non-executive director at Highgate Capital Fund, an activist fund focused on the energy and resource sector.Abigail Dean has been named Head of Sustainability at TH Real Estate, the UK-based property investment firm that is owned by US giant TIAA. She joins from rival firm JLL where she was Head of Sustainability for the Property and Asset Management business. Link

Pamela Hartigan, Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Saïd Business School at Oxford University, has died aged 68. Before joining Skoll, she was the first managing director of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. She was also a non-executive director at Volans, an organisation she co-founded in 2008. Obituary

Rita Süßmuth, the former President of the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, has joined a panel looking at the corporate culture at telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom. Among other panel members: Manuela Mackert, Chief Compliance Officer at Deutsche Telekom (Co-chair); Monika Brandl, Chairwoman of the Central Works Council at Deutsche Telekom; Sylvia Schenk, Transparency International; and Matteo Tonello, Managing Director at the Conference Board.

Mary Ann Deignan has reportedly left her role at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where she was co-head of global equity capital markets, to join Lazard’s corporate preparedness unit, which specialises in defences against hostile takeovers and shareholder activists. The Financial Times said BofA confirmed her departure and that Craig Coben, who ran the team with her, would become the sole head of the unit.

Shirley Rodrigues has been named as London’s new deputy mayor for environment and energy. She joins Mayor Sadiq Khan’s team from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) where she oversaw a £155m global strategy and portfolio as acting executive director for climate change.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the sustainability reporting organization, is advertising for a new CEO following the departure of Michael Meehan earlier this year, after which Eric Hespenheide was appointed Interim CEO. The ad in The Economist states: “The successful candidate will have a deep knowledge and respect for global sustainability, standards and frameworks, and international multi-stakeholder networks and relationships while operating with a high level of integrity.” The closing date for applications is September 21.