RobecoSAM CEO Michael Baldinger quits unexpectedly

Private equity head Schwager named as interim CEO at sustainability boutique

  • Updates to clarify Baldinger joining UBS Asset Management

Michael Baldinger, chief executive of sustainability investment specialist RobecoSAM, is leaving after five years in the role to take on another senior role in sustainability investing.

Baldinger is joining UBS Asset Management, part of the Swiss banking group, as head of sustainable and impact investing, based in New York. He will also be a member of the UBS and society operating committee and chair the asset management environmental, social and governance committee.

RobecoSAM said Reto Schwager, Head of Private Equity at RobecoSAM and Member of the Company’s Executive Committee since January 2015, will be appointed interim CEO as of August 15.

Baldinger’s departure follows that of Roderick Munsters as CEO of sister firm Robeco last year. The former investment chief at both PGGM and APG, the Dutch pension investment giants, joined France-based investment group Edmond de Rothschild earlier this year. Robeco has been majority owned by Japanese conglomerate ORIX since 2013.

Baldinger joined RobecoSAM as Global Head of Distribution & Marketing in 2009 and became CEO in 2011. He began his career as a trader at Credit Suisse First Boston and eventually become Managing Director at Credit Suisse Asset Management in New York. He is on the board at Cornerstone Capital, the ESG boutique founded by Erika Karp, the former head of Global Sector Research at UBS.His appointment as CEO followed the stepping down of Sander van Eijkern as CEO of what was then SAM in February 2010 in a disagreement over strategy.

Baldinger will leave RobecoSAM once a smooth handover to Schwager has been completed. A search process for a permanent replacement for Baldinger has already begun, the firm said adding that both internal and external candidates would be considered.

“The Board of Directors regrets Michael Baldinger’s decision and thanks him for his contributions over the last years,” said RobecoSAM Chairman Albert Gnägi.

Baldinger said: “After more than seven years with the firm, it is the right time for me to take the next step in my career.”

Founded in 1995 as SAM by Reto Ringger, who now runs Swiss private bank Globalance, RobecoSAM publishes with S&P Dow Jones Indices, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI).

RobecoSAM is a sister company of Robeco, the Dutch investment management firm founded in 1929 that is now majority owned by Japan’s ORIX Corporation.

RobecoSAM has around $10.7bn under management and advice and its Governance & Active Ownership team has $238bn under engagement and $49bn
under voting.