RI People & Appointments, Feb. 11: Callan, Swiss Association for Responsible Investments, European Commission, Engagement International

The latest ESG movers and shakers

Anna West has been promoted to the newly created role of ESG Practice Leader at San Francisco-based institutional investment consulting firm Callan. West has years of experience as the chair of the firm’s ESG Committee and a leader of its published research efforts to conduct ESG research and advise clients on ESG considerations. She reports to Head of Fund Sponsor Consulting Millie Viqueira.

Jacqueline Oh, Managing Director of the institutional investor-backed Swiss Association for Responsible Investments SVVKASIR, is to step down in June to “pursue other career interests”. SVVKASIR was founded in December 2015 and has now finished its start-up phase. Oh – formerly with Julius Baer and Credit Suisse – said in a statement: “Now that the key development goals have been achieved, it’s time for a change of leadership.” The association is backed by the BVK Pension Plan of the Canton of Zurich, compenswiss (AHV/IV/EO Compensation Fund), comPlan, Pensionskasse Post, SBB Pension Fund, PUBLICA Pension Fund, Migros Pension Fund, Mobiliar, and Suva.

Deloitte has hired Pablo Zalba, former Executive Chair at the Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO), Spain’s state-owned bank and sustainable bond participant. According to media reports, Zalba will advise the big four firm on financial regulation and European Union issues. Zalba was an MEP before joining ICO.

Kei Yau Sin has returned to Engagement International, the company she co-founded in 2014. According to LinkedIn, Sin left her role as Engagement Manager at the privately-owned firm – which advises institutional investors on responsible engagement – in 2016, to become Senior Analyst at Danske Capital. Previously located in Denmark, Sin is now be based in Orlando, Florida.

Robeco, the €299bn Dutch asset manager has made two UK institutional appointments. Andrew Knell becomes Director, Business Development while Connor Murphy is named Business Development Analyst, both new roles. They join from Northern Trust Asset Management and Fidelity International respectively.

Raphaëlle Vallet has announced on social media that she will be joining Macquarie’s Green Investment Group as Sustainable Finance Manager, and relocating to Edinburgh. She joins from the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) where she was Senior Policy Adviser and Team Leader, Green Finance.

Laila Charlton-Meyrick has joined Tribe Impact Capital, an impact investment firm backed by LGT Vestra, the partnership backed by the Princely Family of Liechtenstein. She was formerly with Credit Suisse and UBS.

Valeria Dinershteyn has left Kempen to join Northern Trust, where her role is Senior Responsible Investment Specialist/Vice-President. At Kempen she was most recently a Responsible Investment Analyst, before which she was an intern in Responsible Investment.

Mikel Postigo has started a position as SRI Analyst at Eurocapital Wealth Management, a Spanish EAFI – empresa de asesoramiento financiero or independent financial adviser firm. Postigo was formerly a consultant with Novaster, and an interim in-house SRI expert for Spain’s Anesvad Foundation, whose whole portfolio is invested in SRI products.The European Commission has bolstered its green taxonomy work by appointing 180 additional experts to advise its Technical Expert Group. The TEG has 35 members, but will now get specialised support to help develop the EU classification system for climate-aligned business streams. Fifteen people have been recruited to help with definitions of electricity, gas, steam and air-conditioning supply; 25 will focus on transportation and storage; eight on agriculture; and a further 32 on manufacturing. Thirty-one people will assist on climate change adaptation; and 12 on information and communication. Twenty-five more experts have been appointed as “additional contributors” to the TEG more broadly, while 32 will work on ensuring that activities identified in the taxonomy “do no significant harm” to other sustainability objectives, especially social ones. Representatives come from a wide range of bodies including universities, NGOs, the German and Austrian Environment Agencies, the Nordic Investment Bank, UNEP, Bloomberg, the European Cement Association and The European Association of Mining Industries, Metal Ores & Industrial Minerals. It also includes corporations such as Volkswagen, Repsol and Schneider Electric.

France’s Monique Barbut has ended her term as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). She will be succeeded by Ibrahim Thiaw of Mauritania, the former Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Kathryn Graham is leaving her role as head of strategy coordination at Universities Superannuation Scheme to “pursue new career opportunities” away from the UK’s largest pension fund, according to media reports citing outgoing CIO Roger Gray. Graham joined USS in 2014 and she will be replaced by Mirko Cardinale.

MSCI has appointed two senior ESG experts to its research arm. Andrea Fix has joined the firm as a Senior ESG Consultant, having headed ISS-oekom’s ESG team for continental Europe. Meanwhile, Velina Karadzhova has been appointed as a Senior Associate, focusing mainly on utilities and climate change-related projects. She spent five years at Moody’s specialising in credit ratings for utilities in EMEA.

Corporate governance advisor King & Spalding has hired Richard Fields as director of corporate stakeholder engagement. Fields spent years at Tapestry Networks, working with clients at public companies and asset managers. Fields also co-chaired the Shareholder-Director Exchange Working Group and was a principal architect of the SDX Protocol, a guide for shareholder engagement supported by investors representing more than $15 trillion in assets under management.

Kempen has appointed two senior portfolio managers from APG Asset Management: Jags Walia, who focused on the energy sector at APG; and Ingmar Schaefer, who was responsible for European shares. In their new roles with Kempen, Walia will be senior portfolio manager for infrastructure, while Schaefer has been appointed senior portfolio manager for European small caps.
The World Benchmarking Alliance is looking for someone to help it develop a Gender Equality & Empowerment Benchmark. The alliance, which was launched by Aviva and others, seeks to public a series of SDG-related corporate benchmarks in 2020. The Research Lead for the gender benchmark, which will assess how companies approach gender equality and empowerment, will focus on developing its methodology, data process and analysis and publication.