RI People & Appointments, May 22: Solomon Hess, Glass Lewis, CalPERS, ShareAction, Follow This, Cornerstone

The latest ESG movers and shakers.

Laurie Webster, Vice President of Operations and Indexing at US SRI firm Calvert Investments, has joined Solomon Hess Capital Management, the asset manager with $639m under management, as Chief Operating Officer. Also joining from Calvert, recently acquired by Eaton Vance, is Sonya Sbar, who becomes Chief Strategy Officer, responsible for developing and implementing the long-term growth strategy of the impact investing specialist. Sbar was most recently Vice President for Client Support and Product Positioning at Calvert.

ShareAction, the UK-based campaign group, has announced the appointments of Toby Belsom and Nitin Sukh as Head of Research and Analytics, and Head of Campaigns and Advocacy, respectively. Belsom, a former UK equity portfolio manager at Aviva Investors, will be responsible for ShareAction’s research outlets, including investor rankings and benchmarking reports. Sukh, a sustainability specialist with India’s Yes Bank, will lead ShareAction’s campaigns. Both Belsom and Sukh will report to Catherine Howarth, Chief Executive.

Caterina Romanelli is reportedly leaving her role as ESG and sustainability manager at French buyout firm PAI Partners. Dow Jones’ PE News, citing a person familiar with the matter, said she is due to leave over the summer.

Anja Mikus, Chief Investment Officer at Arabesque, has reportedly’s-Anja-Mikus-Announced-Interim-CEO-German been seconded by the UK based quant ESG firm to Head the German Government’s €24bn nuclear phase-out fund. The six-month move, which is subject to approval by EU authorities, comes as the German Federal Parliament approved a bill (December 2016) to transfer liabilities for storing nuclear waste to the State.

CalPERS board member JJ Jelincic, whose term ends in January 2018, says he has decided not to run for re-election. Known for his questions about private equity fees, he said on his blog: “I originally ran for the CalPERS Board because I thought the Board was not doing its job and was too often being manipulated by staff. After eight years on the Board, I can tell you it was even worse than I realized.” But CalPERS’ Board President Rob Feckner was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying the idea the board has failed to provide oversight was “nonsense.” Three candidates have so far filed to run for the vacant seat: Richard Costigan of California’s State Personnel Board; David Miller of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control; and Felton Williams of Long Beach Community College District. The Journal reported that Michael Flaherman, a former CalPERS board member, also intends to run for Jelincic’s seat.

John Rowland has been appointed as a non-executive director to the commercial board of NOW: Pensions, the UK workplace pensions provider owned by Denmark’s ATP. Recently retired from a career in senior roles at AXA Investment Managers and Invesco, Rowland replaces Bo Foged. Link

Environment specialist Julien Gastaldi has been appointed General Manager at Natural Carbon, the Australia based developer of sustainable carbon farming projects serving rural and indigenous Australian communities. Gastaldi, who also chairs the NSW Carbon Committee of the Waste Management Association of Australia, joins from environmental consultancy, MRA. Natural Capital is a consortium representing five sustainability partners: Climate Friendly, South Pole Group, McCullough Robertson, EcoFutures, and Object Consulting.Cassandra Traeger has been named to the new role of Director of Client Policy and Stewardship at proxy firm Glass Lewis. Previously with rival ISS, according to her LinkedIn page, Traeger is currently working from Glass Lewis’ European centre of operations in Limerick, Ireland, where she reports to VP of Operations Heidi Little. She will collaborate with the global client service, research and product teams before returning to London in 2018.

Jeremy Leggett, the UK-based solar entrepreneur who chairs the Carbon Tracker Initiative, has been named an Ambassador of Follow This, the campaign movement of green shareholders in Royal Dutch Shell. Follow This currently has a shareholder resolution filed with the oil giant to be voted on at the upcoming AGM tomorrow (May 23). The resolution requests that Shell set and publish 2°C aligned targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

M. Randall Strickland has been named Director and Client Relationship Manager for Cornerstone Capital Investment Advisory (CCIA), the advisory arm of the firm founded in 2013 by ex-UBS executive Erika Karp. He joins from US asset manager Sentinel Investments where was Sustainable Investment Specialist. Strickland will responsible for supporting CCIA’s clients in investment policy planning, ESG and impact investing integration, strategy, and investment manager selection.

Athanasia Karananou, Senior Manager, Governance Issues at the Principles for Responsible Investment, has joined Sustainalytics in an institutional relations and corporate governance role.

Jacco Minnaar, Director Energy and Climate at Triodos Investment Management, has joined the Management Board of the Dutch sustainable bank as Managing Director. Minnaar will join current Board Members: Laura Pool, Managing Director Risk & Finance, Dick van Ommeren, Managing Director, and Marilou van Golstein Brouwers, Chair of the Management Board June. Triodos Investment Management is owned by Triodos Bank NV.

Also at Triodos Investment Management, Adam Robbins, former AXA Wealth executive, has been named Senior Investor Relations Manager (UK market). Robbins will join the sustainable investment specialist’s Business Development and Investor Relations Team, and will be responsible for building and developing investor relations.

Keith Nichols, former CFO at Dutch industrial chemicals firm Akzo Nobel, has been appointed as a Director at the BT Pension Scheme, the pension fund for the UK based telecommunications firm, according to a filing. Nichols, who left Akzo Nobel in 2014 after reportedly helping the firm reduce an inflated pension gap, joins the BT Pension Scheme at a time when it faces a £7bn funding deficit of its own.

Terry Yosie, President and CEO of the World Environment Center, has announced that he will step down from his position at the global sustainability platform in December. Yosie, who was formerly with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has led the Washington based organisation since 2006. The World Environment Center is currently in the process of finding a successor.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the US’ largest public pension fund with assets of $319bn, is recruiting an Investment Officer to support the development and implementation of its Sustainable Investment program.