RI People & Appointments, August 6: CalPERS’ Anne Simpson takes board strategy role at the fund

The latest ESG movers and shakers

CalPERS’ responsible investment champion Anne Simpson has been given two new roles in recent weeks. Previously the head of sustainability at the $360bn fund, she has been moved up to the CEO’s office at CalPERS to work on board strategy, but will continue to work as part of the Sustainable Investments Program, now headed by Beth Richtman, on topics such as climate change. Secondly, in a move she described as “a great honour”, Simpson has been appointed the inaugural chair of Climate Action 100+ – the $30trn global investor engagement initiative launched last December.
The former Chief Investment Officer for the New York State Common Retirement Fund Vicki Fuller has joined the board of natural gas and pipeline firm Williams Companies – a move that has angered environmental groups. The $160m State Common Retirement Fund invests in Williams Companies and in a letter to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli a group of 30 environmental groups says Fueller’s appointment raises questions about conflict of interest.
ESG investment research veteran Hewson Batzell has been named CEO at Sorenson Impact Center. The co-founder of Innovest, he is also President, COO and initial investor in retrofit software firm Helios Exchange.
The PRI has extended the deadline for nominating asset managers and asset owners to its board until August 13. Following the resignation of PREVI’s Marcus Madureira from the board, an extra asset owner position came up, for which the board is encouraging candidates from South America. The organisation is also looking to recruit a US-based Senior Policy Manager to help it promote the PRI’s Six Principles, develop positions on government policy and make public statements or submissions in the PRI’s name. The work is conducted through evidence-based collaborative projects with PRI signatories and other stakeholders. Link*Claire Veuthey is now Director of ESG & Impact at OpenInvest*, the US-based online impact investing platform. Formerly Head of Asia Pacific Sales at Sustainalytics, Veuthey recently left Wells Fargo, where she was Head of ESG and a Senior Analyst in the Social Impact Investing team.

Dutch pension giant APG has appointed the former CEO of SEB Investment Management as its Chief Investment Officer. In June, SEB announced that Peter Branner would be leaving to pursue opportunities outside the Nordic region, and APG has now revealed he will join the €479bn fund. Ronald Wujister said APG wanted to achieve “good pensions in a sustainable world”, and Branner was praised for his experience in long-term investing.
Bridget Macaskill has stepped down as a trustee of the College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF), part of TIAA. According to a filing, this means the Board falls to nine, and Macaskill will no longer be on the corporate governance and social responsibility committee at the fund. She will also not be on the Nominating and Governance Committee or the Investment Committee, among others.

Australia’s Future Business Council has named Toby Kent as its new head, replacing Alison Rowe. Kent is ex- Head of Sustainable Development at ANZ Bank and is Chief Resilience Officer at the City of Melbourne. He will now turn his attention to resilience and sustainability on Australia’s corporate landscape, via FBC, a 140-member body that addresses the need for companies to drive positive change and impact.
Malaysian strategic investment fund Khazanah has appointed a new board following the resignation of all nine existing members in recent weeks after political criticism. Shahril Ridza Ridzuan will take over from Azman Mokhtar as Managing Director later this month, leaving his position as CEO of the country’s Employees Provident Fund. He has also been Managing Director of the Malaysian Resources Corp. Mahathir bin Mohamad has been named Chairman, while Mohamed Azmin Ali, Mohd Hassan Marican, Sukhdave Singh and Goh Ching Yin will all now be directors of the board.