RI People & Appointments, March 29: Japan’s GPIF, Deutsche Bank, Desjardins, UNEP, AMNT

The round-up of the latest ESG movers and shakers

Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) has appointed Hiroshi Komori, Director of the Public Markets Investment Department, as head of its new Stewardship Enhancement Group. The group will discuss appropriate stewardship responsibilities of GPIF and specific action plans from a long-term strategic perspective, analyze ESG factors in domestic and international equities, and promote collaboration between equity owners and businesses. Komori, who joined from SuMi Trust late last year, is a leading figure in Japanese corporate governance. He said at the time that he would “do my best to follow and fulfil the Stewardship Code from now on”.
Staying with the GPIF, Norihiro Takahashi, former Managing Director at Norinchukin Bank, has been named president. Takahashi, who replaces the retiring Takahiro Mitani, joins from JA Mitsui Leasing.

David Weeks has been appointed as the new co-chair of the Association of Member Nominated Trustees (AMNT), the UK body behind the Red Line Voting initiative. Weeks, a member nominated director of the Lovell Pension Scheme Trustee Company since 2012, will sit alongside Janice Turner. He takes over from Barry Parr who is stepping down from the role, though he will remain a member of the AMNT committee. Link

Australian Ethical, the Sydney-based fund firm, has appointed Mark Williams as equities analyst, according to reports. Industry Moves said he was recently a senior equity analyst with Morgans, the stockbroking and wealth management network.

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), the US non-profit body, has launched its Advisory Partner Program to support corporate and investor application of SASB’s standards and related guidance. SASB said founding advisory partners include Antea Group, BrownFlynn, Crowe Horwath, Goby Inc., iCompli, Sociovestix Labs, Sustainability Reporting Partners, thinkstep, 38 North Solutions, and Zizzo Strategy. On March 30, SASB will issue its last set of provisional standards, marking the complete set of provisional standards for 79 industries in 10 sectors complete. SASB will then enter a period of “deep consultation” on the standards’ decision-usefulness and cost-effectiveness. SASB’s proposed process for codifying and maintaining the standards will open for public comment on April 7.

Todd Stern, US Special Envoy for Climate Change, is stepping down on April 1. Stern, who has held the position for seven years, was instrumental in the Paris climate accord. Jonathan Pershing, Senior Climate Adviser at the US Department of Energy, will replace him.

Jonathan Brodsky of investment subadvisor Advisory Research, will no longer serve as a portfolio manager for Calvert International Opportunities Fund, according to a filing.Florian Drinhausen has been promoted to Chief Governance Officer at Deutsche Bank, effective April 1. Drinhausen – who joined the bank in 2014 from law firm Linklaters, where he had responsibility for Corporate Governance and M&A – replaces Daniela Weber-Rey, who is resigning after three years in the post to pursue other opportunities. Drinhausen reports to Karl von Rohr, Deutsche’s Chief Administrative Officer. Commenting on Weber-Rey’s service, Deutsche said: “As part of the ‘House of Governance’ project, she and her team simplified the Bank’s committee structures and implemented a clear set of rules. At the same time, she established a stronger understanding of the need for robust corporate governance.”

Guy Cormier has been elected chief executive and chair of Canada-based co-operative financial group Desjardins. Cormier replaces Monique Leroux, who is stepping down after eight years at the helm and after being elected president of the International Co-operative Alliance. Long-time Desjardins staffer Cormier, currently Senior Vice-President, Cooperative Network and Personal Services, will begin his four-year term at the company’s annual general meeting on April 9. Link

Mostafa Tolba, the former Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and a pioneering figure in environmental diplomacy, has died at the age of 93, according to UNEP. Tolba led Egypt’s delegation to the historic Stockholm Conference in 1972, hosted by the United Nations to forge a new global environmental agenda. He went on to head UNEP for 17 years. During his long tenure, he played a role in the fight against ozone depletion. Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UNEP, said: “We have lost a visionary leader and friend whose life and legacy have been truly exceptional.”

Ari Frankel, formerly Head of ESG Strategy, Real Estate at Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management (RREEF Management LLC), has left. Frankel, a member of UNEP-FI Property Working Group and GRESB Benchmark Committee, has joined Alexandria Real Estate Equities, a California-based, New York-listed urban office real estate investment trust (REIT).

Jack Hockema, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Aluminum, has joined the board of trustees at the Conference Board, the global business research and membership association that is chaired by Roger W. Ferguson, CEO of financial services giant TIAA.

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), a policy research organisation promoting sustainable development, is recruiting for a Senior Researcher, Artisanal and Small Scale Mining to join its London office.

GMO, the Boston-based global investment management firm, managing assets of $104bn, is looking to recruit a Natural Resources Equity Analyst in support of its natural resources equity product.