RI People & Appointments, Dec. 14: Japan’s giant GPIF names Komori to key stewardship role

The latest ESG movers and shakers

Japan’s giant Government Pension Investment Fund has named a former SuMi Trust executive to focus on fulfilling the world’s largest asset owner’s responsibilities under the country’s new Stewardship Code. Hiroshi Komori, formerly Associate General Manager at SuMi Trust, the $453bn manager, and a leading figure in Japanese corporate governance, has become Director, Public Markets in the Investment Department of the GPIF. “I’ve moved to the other end from issuers in the investment chain in Japan,” he said. “I’ll do my best to follow and fulfill Stewardship Code from now on.”

Narina Mnatsakanian, Senior Advisor Responsible Investment & Governance at MN, has left the €92bn Dutch fiduciary management firm to join Canada-based private investment firm Sarona Asset Management as Head Investor Relations and Business Development for Europe. Sarona was spun out five years ago from Canadian Development Organisation MEDA, and counts Menno Derks, the ex-PGGM private equity executive, as a partner. Mnatsakanian joined MN’s Responsible Investment team in 2012; before she that was at the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), most recently as Head of Networks, Global Outreach and Emerging Markets. MN’s Director of Responsible Investment, Karlijn Van Lierop, said a replacement has been found externally who will join on March 1 next year. “We are absolutely delighted that Narina has decided to join Sarona to grow with us as we scale our unique private equity strategic offerin‎g,” said Sarona co-Managing Partner Vivina Berla.

RobecoSAM has confirmed that Senior Portfolio Manager Martin Jochum has decided to leave, adding that a contract with an “experienced and renowned” Senior Fund Manager – with a track record in Thematic Equities – has been signed. The name of the new Portfolio Manager will be revealed later, probably in the first quarter of next year. In the interim, Pieter Busscher will manage the RobecoSAM Sustainable Agribusiness Equities Fund and Dieter Küffer will manage the RobecoSAM Healthy Living Fund, having been deputy portfolio managers for the respective funds for many years.

Catherine Savage, the former managing director of AMP Capital Investors (NZ), has been appointed Chair of the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, the Crown entity that manages the NZ$30bn New Zealand Superannuation Fund. She will succeed Gavin Walker, who has resigned to focus on fewer board commitments. Current Guardians Board member Lindsay Wright has been appointed Deputy Chair. Savage, Deputy Chair of the Guardians since 2012, is MD of the Savage Group Ltd. and Chair of the National Provident Fund, among other roles.

Roger Ferguson, President and CEO of US financial services giant TIAACREF, has been elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Conference Board, the independent business membership and research association.Cecile Biccari (née Churet) has joined Contrast Capital, the Swiss-based boutique advisory firm focused on sustainability investing founded by Stephanie Feigt, Pierin Menzli and Rodrigo Amandi, as Managing Partner, after seven years at RobecoSAM. Biccari’s last position at RobecoSAM was as a Sustainability Investing Client Specialist. In her new role, she will be advising investors and asset managers seeking to implement responsible investment strategies: “Contrast Capital has built a great track record of providing independent practitioner-oriented advise in this space, so it is an exciting opportunity to contribute to moving the whole industry forward,” Biccari said.

Janine Guillot, the former Chief Operating Investment Officer for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) has joined the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). She will have the role of Director of Capital Markets Policy & Outreach, a new position, in which she will liaise with investors, analysts, exchanges, ratings agencies, information brokers, and investor associations to understand their information needs and support market adoption of standardized sustainability disclosures. SASB, the US not-for-profit body, also announced a targeted effort to work with investors to support demand for standardized disclosure of material sustainability factors.

Bart Baetens is to leave the recently merged Degroof Petercam Asset Management outfit, according to a Citywire report citing a company spokesperson. It said he would step down from the company by year-end – handing over responsibility for the Petercam World Sustainable Equity fund. Baetens, who joined as an analyst in 2005 and who is departing to “pursue other opportunities”, is being replaced by Alexander Roose the report said.

William Stromberg has been named to succeed James Kennedy as president and CEO and chair of the Management Committee at US fund industry giant T. Rowe Price. Kennedy is retiring from the firm – which became a PRI signatory in 2010 – at the end of March 2016. The Baltimore-based firm also adopted a proxy access by-law amendment, permitting stockholders to nominate individuals to the board given certain requirements are satisfied.

Meryam Omi, Head of Sustainability at Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), has been named as a ‘Rising Star of Corporate Governance’ by the Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership at the Columbia Law School. The award was presented at the 10th annual Millstein Governance Forum.

Bruce Douglas, Chief Operating Officer at Brussels-based industry group SolarPower Europe (formerly the European Photovoltaic Industry Association), has been elected chair of the new Global Solar Council solar PV trade body that was launched during COP21 in Paris.