RI People & Appointments, July 6: South Africa’s GEPF names new principal officer

The latest ESG movers and shakers

Abel Sithole has been named Principal Executive Officer (PEO) of South Africa’s Government Employees’ Pension Fund (GEPF), the largest African pension fund and a leader in ESG and responsible investment. He had been Acting PEO since April 1. For the past six years, Sithole has been with the Institute for Futures Research (IFR) at the University of Stellenbosch. Before joining the IFR he spent 20 years in the insurance and retirement fund industries; he served two terms as Chairman of the Institute of Retirement Funds (IRF) amongst other roles. He takes over the role vacated by the departure of John Oliphant, who was dismissed last year following a 12-month inquiry into alleged misconduct. Joelene Moodley, who took over from Oliphant as Acting Principal Executive Officer, left the GEPF in May to join law firm Rooth and Wessels as a director in its commercial division.

Simon Baker has joined the board at Jupiter Green Investment Trust, the London-listed environmental vehicle. He is a former fund manager who served as the head of Jupiter’s green investment department between 1994 and his retirement in 2006. He was the lead portfolio manager of predecessor trusts before handing over to Charlie Thomas in 2003.

Alex Bush has stepped down as Finance Director of Renewable Energy Holdings, the AIM-listed wind investment firm that is disposing its assets and returning capital to shareholders, with “immediate effect”. He remains on the board as a non-executive director; he retains overall responsibility for REH’s accounting functions, which has been outsourced to external accountants.

Sandra Reich, Chief Executive of the Hanover and Hamburg stock exchanges, has decided to leave at the end of March 2016 to take on a position outside of Europe. Reich has been CEO of the exchanges since March 2009 and as such oversaw the launch of the Global Challenges Index (GCX), Germany’s biggest sustainable equity index. Run jointly by the Hanover bourse and oekom research, the Munich-based ESG firm, the GCX has attracted more than €300m in assets from investors, many of whom are institutions.

Patrick Marshall has joined Hermes Investment Management as Head of Private Debt, reporting to Zoe Shaw, Head of Fixed Income. He joins from Tikehau Capital where he was a member of the management committee and was responsible for developing the firm’s direct lending activities in London and setting up a collateralized loan obligation (CLO) program.

Mark Robertson, Head of Marketing & Communications at Sedex, the not-for-profit organization for responsible and ethical business practices in global supply chains, is leaving the organization to join the ICTI CARE Foundation as Director of Communications and Stakeholder Outreach. ICTI is an ethical trade/certification programme working with retailers to improve supply chain sustainability in the global toy/entertainment/electronics industry supply chain. Robertson will be working with Sedex’s former CEO Carmel Giblin who moved to ICTI earlier this year. He will be mostly based in London working with ICTI offices in New York, Hong Kong and Shenzhen. His last day at Sedex is July 24.
Désirée Lucchese, Senior Account Manager at Sedex, is also leaving Sedex to join the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), the international consortium of business and environmental NGOs to push corporates to reporting natural capital along the same lines as financial capital, as its new technical manager. Lucchese has been with Sedex for just under a year.Meredith Benton, formally Client Portfolio & Shareholder Engagement Manager at SRI firm Boston Common Asset Management, has been named Head of Client Relations at Sonen Capital – the US-based impact investment management firm. Benton will not be directly replaced at Boston Common; her responsibilities will be absorbed by the current team, which includes Brian Chiappinelli, who joined as Senior Vice-President and head of the Business Development Team in March.

Robert Eccles, Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School, has been appointed Chairman at Arabesque Partners – the London and Frankfurt-based asset manager. Eccles, who has written extensively on sustainability and corporate reporting, is also a member of the International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC), on the Board of Directors of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), and a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Sustainable Value Creation.

Michelle McCann has joined ESG research house Sustainalytics as Associate Director, Marketing. She joins from MSCI, where she served as vice president of marketing for their portfolio and risk analytics business. Prior to MSCI, she was marketing director for Thomson Reuters’ Governance, Risk & Compliance unit and also worked as a consultant to Sungard. She will be based in London and will report to Cheryl Gustitus,
Global Director, Marketing and Strategic Initiatives.

Natalie Elwell has joined the World Resources Institute (WRI) as Senior Gender Advisor – a new role at the organisation. Elwell previously worked for the U.S government aid agency USAID and World Neighbours, advising, advocating and educating on gender and environmental issues.

Andrew Norton has joined the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the environmental policy organisation, as director. He takes over from Camilla Toulmin, who becomes IIED senior fellow.

Aviva, the insurance and asset management firm, has appointed
Belén Romana García as an independent non-executive director, where she will sit on the governance, nomination and risk committees. She is the former Head of the Spanish Treasury and ex-head of Sareb, the €50.8bn asset manager created in 2012 to help restructure the Spanish financial sector and exposed financial institutions.

Helen Dean has been appointed the new chief executive of NEST, the National Employee Savings Trust. Currently executive director of product and marketing at the UK workplace pension scheme, she will replace Tim Jones in the autumn.

Maree O’Halloran, who this year was named the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees joint trustee of the year along with Bob Henricks of Energy Super, has stepped down from her role at Hesta, the A$32bn (€21.7) Australian super fund for health and community services. O’Halloran served on Hesta’s investment advisory panel and the remuneration board. She resigned from Hesta after leaving her role as director of the Welfare Right Centre, NSW, which is affiliated to the Australian Council of Social Service, a nominating employer for the Hesta board.

A Senior Green Finance Specialist is being sought by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), the new Seoul-based international organization established by treaty in 2012 at the United Nations Rio+20 Conference. There will be two areas of focus: the origination of green infrastructure projects; and the identification of sources of finance, incentives and risk reduction instruments. The deadline for application for the London-based role is July 14.