RI People & Appointments, Oct. 28: new Sarasin asset management head exits

The latest ESG movers and shakers

Burkhard Varnholt has left his role as Head of Asset Management, Product and Sales at Swiss private bank J. Safra Sarasin just five months after being appointed. His replacement is Sergio Penchas, a Brazilian national who has worked for more than 20 years at two affiliates of the Safra Group, which completed its €1bn acquisition of Sarasin earlier this year. Penchas reports to CEO Edmond Michaan. The reason for Varnholt’s abrupt departure is not immediately clear, and Sarasin declined to comment. His promotion to asset management chief at Sarasin late last May after the departure of predecessor Andreas Knörzer to rival Notenstein prompted a mass defection to Notenstein.

David Beca has been named as head of farmland management at UK fund manager Insight. He joins from NZ Farming Systems Uruguay and will report to Martin Davies, head of farmland investments. Insight’s eight-strong farmland team is led by Reza Vishkai, head of specialist investments.

Elliott Harris, the former IMF Special Representative to the United Nations, has been appointed as Director of the Environment Management Group’s Secretariat, based at the UN Environment Programme’s New York office. The EMG is a UN-wide coordination body on environment and human settlements. Link

Neil Brown has been named as Partner and Head of Investor Relations at Actis Capital, the private equity firm focused on investments in emerging markets in Africa, China, India, Latin America, and South East Asia that was spun out of the UK’s development body CDC in 2004. Brown was formerly a business head within Citi’s Alternative Investments business and most recently co-founded boutique advisory firm Minerva Capital. Announcement

Hiroyasu Sato has been named as the new lead manager on Tokio Marine Asset Management’s Japanese Equity Focus fund, succeeding Akira Sato.Christina Grumstrup Sørensen, a former senior wind energy executive, is to join Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), the new infrastructure business set up with backing from Danish pension giant PensionDanmark. She was most recently Senior Vice President at DONG Energy Wind Power, where she headed its offshore wind construction projects. Grumstrup Sørensen, who is a member of the Council at assurance group Det Norske Veritas and board member of charity group Nordeafonden. CIP was established in October 2012 with PensionDanmark as the sole limited partner in CIP’s first fund, Copenhagen Infrastructure I K/S with a commitment of DKK6bn (€800m).

Philipp Jung will head Swiss-based microfinance and inclusive finance boutique Symbiotics’ new London office. He will be joined by Christelle Kupa Oesterlé, a former JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs executive, as Investor Relations Manager. The new office is in the context of Symbiotics’ partnership with the City of London Corporation and Oxfam on small enterprise impact investing.

There have been a number of management changes at Norway’s Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) following the separate listing of REC Solar. President and CEO Ole Enger will step down. Tore Torvund, currently Executive Vice President of REC Silicon, becomes President & CEO of REC effective December 1. James May, currently CFO of REC Silicon, becomes CFO of REC. Chief Financial Officer Kjell Christian Bjørnsen, Chief Legal Officer Florian Krumbacher and SVP Investor Relations & Business Development Mikkel Tørud will also step down from their current positions.

The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) is recruiting a Director General to succeed the incumbent Howard Bamsey, the former Adjunct Professor in the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University. The institute was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea to help developing and emerging countries to link economic growth with environmental sustainability.