RI People & Appointments, Oct. 3: Pension Protection Fund, SHARE, VW, Triodos, Sumitomo Mitsui

The round-up of the latest ESG movers and shakers

Jackie Cook has been appointed as associate director of proxy research and services at Canada’s Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE). Cook founded and runs the Fund Votes project, which tracks institutional proxy voting and proxy-related metrics, and the Climate Risk Disclosure project, which analyses climate-related reporting. In her new role, she will be responsible for overseeing the development of new proxy voting tools, products and research outputs. Link

Leanne Clements has resigned from her position as responsible investment manager at the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), the UK’s pension lifeboat scheme, according to IPE.com. She joined the PPF in April, having previously been Responsible Investment Officer at the West Midlands Pension Fund. She took the role at the PPF after her friend Ebba Schmidt died in November after a battle with cancer.

Peter Blom, CEO of Triodos Bank, the Netherlands-based sustainable bank, has been named co-president of the Sustainable Finance Lab – the informal interdisciplinary network of mostly academics of different Dutch universities. The Lab’s secretariat is located at the University of Utrecht School of Economics and its funding is organized through the SFL Foundation that receives support from Triodos Bank and the Dutch central bank DNB and project funding from different ministries and financial institutions. Sustainable Finance is also a strategic theme of Utrecht University. Blom’s co-president will be Arnoud Boot, professor of Corporate Finance and Financial Markets at the University of Amsterdam; they succeed Herman Wijffels.

Jason Fletcher, the former head of North American equities and deputy head of equities at the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) has joined the West Midlands fund as assistant director of investments.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has named Jane Norberg as its chief of the Office of the Whistleblower. Norberg was formerly a special agent for the US Secret Service and a lawyer at Shearman & Sterling law practice. She has now been promoted from her role as deputy at the office, which was set up in 2012 to assess tips received from insiders. Norberg has been acting chief since the departure of the department’s inaugural chief, Sean McKessy, in July.

The chief financial officer of CalPERS has been appointed to the Government Finance Officers Association’s Committee on Retirement and Benefits Administration. Cheryl Eason will join the committee, which seeks to “effectively manage state and local retirement funds and employee benefits”, by tracking new industry practices and regulatory and legal developments as well as issuing best practices in the field. Eason, who has been at CalPERS since 2012, will serve on the committee for three years.

Former Hermes Pension Management chairman Richard Bernays is among a group of leading figures backing a bipartisan Brexit financial* services lobby group set up by the Vote Leave campaign. The Financial Services Negotiation Forum has set up an Advisory Council, including former Barclays’ Remuneration Committee Chair Dame Alison Carnwath and Sharon Bowles, the former Chair of the EU Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee.Volkswagen Group has appointed nine big hitters to an ‘international sustainability council’, which will provide “external assistance” to the firm. They include Connie Hedegaard, the former EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Georg Kell, Founding Director of the UN Global Compact and Yves Leterme, former OECD Deputy Secretary-General and former Prime Minister of Belgium. VW was delisted from the Global Compact in November 2015 in the wake of the emissions scandal.

Mari Murata is stepping down as manager of investor relations in the social and responsible consulting team of Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank’s Stock Transfer Agency Business Advisory Department. She held the position for 12 years. She will begin a new role this week. No further details have been disclosed, except that the job will require her to remain involved with ESG issues, particularly around corporate government and Japan’s stewardship code. Akiyo Inaba will replace Murata at Sumitomo.

Sir Andreas Whittam Smith, who oversees the management of £7bn of assets for the UK Church Commissioner, is to step down after 15 years as First Church Estates Commissioner. He is also a member of the Church Commissioners’ Board of Governors, the General Synod and the Archbishops’ Council. The move will come into place next June. The Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners, said: “Under [Whittam Smith’s] leadership the Church Commissioners have led in responsible investment and in engaging with businesses on a wide range of economic and social issues.” A successor is yet to be announced.

Emerging markets specialist Actis has appointed Carlton Byrd, a former managing director at Commonfund, to director of its Investor Development Group. Byrd, who will be based in New York, has also held roles at the US Treasury and Goldman Sachs.

Dirk Jan van den Berg has joined the Supervisory Board of FMO, the Dutch development bank. Van den Berg is currently Chair of the Executive Board of Sanquin, a foundation that runs the national blood bank system, operates a fully commercial pharmaceutical plant and conducts major research programs on blood related topics. He is also Vice-Chairman of the Supervisory Board of natural gas infrastructure and transportation firm Gasunie and a member of the Governing Board of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology.

Robert Talbut, the former Chief Investment Officer at Royal London Asset Management, has joined the board of Pacific Assets Trust as an independent non-executive director. The trust, managed by fund manager Steward Investors, focuses on long-term sustainability themes. Talbut, who joins this month, is currently a non-executive director of Schroder UK Mid Cap Fund PLC and Shires Income PLC. He is also Chairman of EFG Asset Management and an independent member of Aviva Group’s Independent Governance Committee and an external adviser to insurer Hiscox.