RI People & Appointments, Jan. 16: Goldman’s impact investing head joins Trump administration

The latest ESG movers and shakers

US President-Elect Donald Trump has appointed Dina Habib Powell, global head of impact investing at Goldman Sachs, as Assistant to the President and Senior Counselor for Economic Initiatives. Hailed as Trump’s first Arab-American appointee, Habib will focus on entrepreneurship, small business growth and the global economic empowerment of women. She joins other Goldman Sachs officials in the Trump administration, including economic adviser Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary-designate Steven Mnuchin. In her former role with Goldman Sachs, Powell had oversight of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, Environmental Markets Group and its Urban Investment Group. Separately, Rachel Diller, managing director at Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group has left to join Bridges UrbanView, a new US $25m impact investment real estate fund launched by Bridges Ventures.

Craig Metrick, the former US head of responsible investment at consulting firm Mercer who is now with sustainability boutique Cornerstone Capital where he is Director of Manager Due Diligence, has been named as the new chair of the US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment. Other new board members include: Steve Falci, Chief Investment Officer, Pax World Management; Alyssa Greenspan, President/COO, Community Capital Management; Bruce Kahn, Portfolio Manager, Sustainable Insight Capital Management; Jonas Kron, Senior Vice President, Director of Shareholder Advocacy, Trillium Asset Management; and Jackie VanderBrug, Managing Director, US Trust/Bank of America. Metrick said: “I’m honored to be part of this passionate and thoughtful board that is committed to enhancing US SIF’s contributions to its members and to the sustainable and impact investing industry.” Announcement

Annika Falkengren has decided to step down after 11 years as President and CEO of SEB, the Nordic financial services group that she has been with for almost 30 years. She will join Swiss wealth and asset manager firm Lombard Odier Group as managing partner. Falkengren will leave SEB by July 2017 and the board will now initiate the recruitment of a replacement.

Robert Steel, CEO of Perella Weinberg Partners, has joined the board of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), the US-based body. Steel is a former Co-Head of US equities and Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs and was Deputy Mayor for Economic Development for New York under Michael Bloomberg from 2010 to 2013. Also joining the board are Robert Hirth, Chairman, Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission and Stephen Haggerty, Head of Americas Equity Research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Haggerty said: “Our research suggests that ESG factors have been strong leading indicators of stock price volatility, earnings risk, return on equity and other attributes that are critical to investors.”

Nils Kok has joined real estate ‘big data’ outfit GeoPhy. Kok, who founded investor backed real estate sustainability body GRESB, will be based in New York and head up its North American business. GeoPhy in 2015 teamed up with Dutch pension investment giant PGGM to map its global real estate portfolios on sustainability and CO2 footprint.Amy Freedman has been promoted to CEO of Canadian governance advisory firm Kingsdale. Formerly President, Canada, she takes over from Wes Hall – who becomes chairman at the Toronto-based firm, which is rebranding from Kingsdale Shareholder Services to Kingsdale Advisors. Freedman joined Kingsdale in 2013.

The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), the UK workplace scheme, has hired John St Hill as deputy CIO, a new role. He joins from the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), where he was a senior portfolio manager.

Rebeca Coriat has joined Investec Asset Management as an ESG analyst. She joins the ESG team, headed by Therese Niklasson, from ISS where she was a senior associate for UK and South Africa research. Coriat will be responsible for proxy voting and related governance research and engagement.

Jonathan Feigelson has joined US class action law firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann (BLB&G) as Director of Corporate Governance. A former General Counsel and Director of Corporate Governance at investment giant TIAA, Feigelson will liaise with the firm’s institutional investor clients. He joins from fintech firm Artivest. Link

Roland Pfeuti has been named as Head of Investment Solutions & Sales at responsAbility Investments AG, the Zurich-based asset manager specialising in development investments. He joins from Asia Climate Partners, the Hong Kong-based joint initiative of Robeco, ORIX Corp. and the Asian Development Bank, where he was Managing Director, Private Equity. He previously held positions at RobecoSAM Private Equity, Bank Julius Baer and Credit Suisse/Credit Suisse First Boston in New York, London, Zurich, Sydney and Melbourne.

Ashley Elliot has been named Global Liaison for East Africa at the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), the nonprofit organization. He will be based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and will continue as a managing partner at research and strategy firm Sofala Partners.

Kees Vendrik has been appointed Chief Economist of Triodos Bank, the Dutch sustainability focused bank, a new role designed to be a “sparring partner” for the executive board. “The role of Chief Economist is newly created and will be focused on providing insight and a point of view on economic developments relevant to Triodos Bank and the ‘theory of change’ of an inclusive approach regarding sustainability and human dignity which Triodos is pursuing,” the bank said. Vice President of the Dutch Court of Audit, Vendrik is a former Green Party politician.

Josh Brewer has joined Ethex, the UK-based positive savings and investment platform, as Business Development Manager. He was formerly with ESG research firm Vigeo Eiris where he held a number of senior positions including Head of News Monitoring, Head of Financials and Technology sector research and Research Manager for the Energy sector.

Liba Wenig Rubenstein has been named Senior Vice President, Social Impact at entertainment group 21st Century Fox, a new position. She joins from Tumblr, where she had been Head of Social Impact and Public Policy since 2012.