Swiss ESG house Inrate names stock exchange official as new chief executive

Philipp Leu is currently Head of Financial Reporting at SIX.

Swiss environmental, social and governance (ESG) research firm Inrate has recruited Philipp Leu, who is currently Head of Financial Reporting at Switzerland’s stock exchange (SIX Swiss Exchange), as its new chief executive, effective as of January 1 next year.

The CEO position at Inrate has been vacant since last May, when Philippe Spicher stepped down amid the firm’s acquisition of the proxy service arm of a Swiss asset manager known as zCapital. That proxy firm was integrated into Inrate under the new name ‘zRating’ and its founder Gregor Greber joined Inrate’s five-member board.

Inrate said that in his current role at the Swiss bourse, Leu was very familiar with investor requirements for financial reporting among listed firms. Leu has also represented Switzerland in international bodies dealing with financial reporting, the ESG firm said.

“As a provider of sustainable ratings (of companies), it is essential to know the Swiss and international markets extremely well. Philipp Leu meets that criteria, and that is why we are looking forward to working with him as our new CEO,” said Christoph Müller, Inrate’s Board Chairman.Greber, who is also Executive Chairman of zRating, added that Leu’s expertise in corporate governance would also be a huge advantage in promoting both zRating’s business and the proxy firm’s efforts to get companies to improve their shareholder democracy.

Founded in 1995, Zurich-based Inrate provides ESG research and sustainability ratings on around 2,500 listed companies and employs around two dozen people. Its shareholders include Nest Sammelstiftung, the CHF1.7bn (€1.4bn) sustainable Swiss pension scheme, the think-tank INFRAS AG, the Pier-Luigi Giovannini Foundation as well as Inrate employees.

Inrate has not disclosed the number of clients, including asset managers, investors and financial analysts. However, the firm says French bank BNP Paribas, the Geneva state pension fund, the asset manager Swisscanto and Swiss private bank Vontobel are among its current clients. Inrate is holding two ‘Sustainability Breakfasts’ last this month in Zurich and Geneva, on the 18th and 19th respectively.