RI People & Appointments, May 16: Usher named as permanent head of UNEP FI

The round-up of the latest ESG movers and shakers

Eric Usher has been named as the new Head of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), the membership organisation of over 230 banks, insurers and fund managers. After serving in an interim capacity since 2015, when he took over from former insurance executive Charles Anderson, he is stepping into the role permanently at the body whose membership has a combined asset base of over $63trn and which contributed to the launch of the Principles for Responsible Investment and the development of the Principles for Sustainable Insurance. Before joining UNEP he was General Manager of a solar rural electrification company based in Marrakech. Link

Jane Ambachtsheer, partner and chair of Mercer’s Global Responsible Investment Business, has joined the board of trustees at investor-backed environmental data body the CDP. An expert member of the Michael Bloomberg-led Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, Ambachtsheer is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto, where she teaches a graduate course on responsible investment. Link

Kwai San Wong has joined Sarasin & Partners, the London-based asset manager with £13.4bn (€17bn) under management, as Stewardship Analyst, where he will support Head of Stewardship, Natasha Landell-Mills. He joins from BMO Global Asset Management EMEA, where he worked as an Analyst in the Governance and Sustainable Investment team for five years.

Burkhard Varnholt, Chief Investment Officer at Swiss private bank, Julius Baer, has joined Credit Suisse International Wealth Management as Deputy Global Chief Investment Officer. Varnholt, who takes up his new role in November, will be responsible for the financial services firm’s investment capabilities across the International Wealth Division. Link

Julius Baer named Yves Robert-Charrue as Head Investment Solutions Group (ISG) on an interim basis to take over from Varnholt. It means that Yves Bonzon will become sole Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of Julius Baer.

Alex Chisholm has been appointed as the new Permanent Secretary for the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change. This follows the announcement that Stephen Lovegrove will move across to become Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence. Chisholm is currently Chief Executive of the Competition and Markets Authority. Announcement

Charlotte Jones, Head of Group Finance and Investor Relations at Credit Suisse, has been named Chief Financial Officer at UK asset manager Jupiter Fund Management plc. Jones, who replaces Philip Johnson, will take up her position in September. Link

Tom McKeon, CEO at Hassad Australia, the Qatar Investment Authority’s food and agribusiness subsidiary, has been appointed Head of Portfolio Oversight, Farmlands at Insight Investments, the UK based asset manager owned by BNY Mellon. McKeon will be based in London. Link*Barbara Krumsiek, the former Chief Executive* and Chair of US SRI firm Calvert Investments between 1997 and 2014, has joined the board of Arabesque Asset Management as a non-executive director. The boutique, which specialises in quantitative ESG, said she would become its third board member alongside Harvard Professor and Non-Executive Chairman Robert Eccles and Vice Chairman Georg Kell, the former head of the UN Global Compact. Krumsiek said: “I am looking forward to joining Arabesque at this exciting stage of the firm’s growth.”

Michael Murray, formerly a sustainability-focused portfolio manager at Integrity Investment Management and AMP Capital, has reportedly joined ethical investment house Australian Ethical as an equities analyst. After an 18-year career in asset management, including several years at UBS Brinson (now known as UBS Global Asset Management), Murray said he was looking forward to working at a firm “100% dedicated to ethical investment”.

Georges Antoun has been named Chief Commercial Officer of First Solar, the Nasdaq-listed photovoltaic solar systems firm. Formerly President – US, he will head up global project and business development, focused on sales in emerging markets. Joe Kishkill, First Solar’s President – International, will leave the company to “pursue other interests” the company said. “Georges has a deep and broad grasp of every aspect of our operations,” said First Solar Chief Financial Officer Mark Widmar, who takes over as CEO on July 1.

Christoph Ryter, head of the pension fund of retailer Migros, has stepped down as president of Switzerland’s pension fund association (ASIP) after almost 10 years, according to IPE.com. It added he would be succeeded by Jean-Rémy Roulet, currently CEO at the Caisse paritaire de l’industrie et de la construction (CPPIC), the fund for building workers in Geneva.

The European Sustainable Investment Forum (Eurosif) is searching for a Communications & Brand Officer. Reporting to Executive Director Flavia Micilotta, the role covers media relations, event management and collaboration between stakeholders and is based at Eurosif’s Brussels headquarters. The application deadline is May 26.

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), an international development and environment policy research organisation, is recruiting for a Senior Coordinator to join its London based Climate Change Group.

The Social Business Trust, the UK social investment and venture philanthropy fund set up by Permira’s Damon Buffini in 2010, is seeking a Portfolio Director to manage relationships with social enterprises.