Erik Breen, Head of Responsible Investing at Robeco, the Dutch asset manager that was bought last month by Japanese financial services group ORIX, is leaving the company.
It is understood that Breen has not yet taken a position elsewhere but will look to stay within responsible investment for a future position.
In February, Robeco was sold by parent, Rabobank, to Japan’s ORIX Corp who paid €1.9bn for approximately 90% of the total issued shares. The sale came just a month after Robeco re-branded its Zurich-based Swiss sustainable investment boutique SAM and folded its engagement and voting services into the re-branded firm, now called RobecoSAM. As a result of that move, Breen’s team, while still based in Rotterdam, currently reports to Michael Baldinger, RobecoSAM CEO, out of Zurich, rather than as previously to Robeco CEO Roderick Munsters.
Robeco said Edith Siermann, the CIO of fixed income would now be responsible for the Rotterdam governance and active ownership unit.Munsters said Breen had “fervently advocated sustainability” and that his pioneering work “has made him a globally respected authority on active ownership”.
At the time of the RobecoSAM re-branding and the fold-in of Robeco’s governance capabilities, Baldinger said the new company label underscored “the deep collaboration between the specialists in Zurich and Rotterdam as they pursue one single objective: to offer clients an all-encompassing service and product offering in the field of sustainability investing”.
Breen has been a long-time Robeco staffer, starting in January 1996 as a Senior Portfolio Manager Equities, a post he held for almost seven years.
He then became Robeco’s Head of Corporate Governance & Sustainability until May 2009 before taking up his latest post.
In 2011, Breen received a ‘Millstein Center Rising Star Governance’ award and he is currently Vice Chair and Board member of the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) and a board member at Eumedion, the Dutch investor governance group.