Star fund manager Woodford eyes ‘wider social context’ with high profile CSR hire

“Measured and meaningful” contribution planned as new firm attracts £1.6m

Woodford Investment Management, the new fund management firm launched in April by star fund manager Neil Woodford, has appointed Princes Charles’ responsible business ambassador for Wales as its first head of corporate social responsibility – as it looks to make a “measured and meaningful” contribution to a wider social context.

Jonathan Smith, who has a background in the marketing communications and social care sectors, will join Woodford on a part-time basis where he will spend six months developing the company’s CSR strategy before becoming full-time in January 2015. Smith sits on business sustainability group Business in the Community’s UK Water Taskforce and spent over seven years at care home property developer Castleoak as communications director.On the new appointment, Craig Newman, chief executive of Woodford IM, said: “It is extremely important to me to make sure that we pay proper regard to our wider social responsibilities as our business develops and Jonathan’s appointment reinforces this commitment.

“His understanding of the social agenda, coupled with his outlook and approach fit perfectly with what we are looking to accomplish at Woodford Investment Management. Our aim is to use successful business performance as a springboard to make a measured and meaningful contribution in a wider social context.”

Woodford, the former UK Head of Equities for Invesco Perpetual, is arguably one of the UK’s leading fund managers. His new fund, the CF Woodford Equity Income Fund, has already attracted £1.6bn (€2bn). Unusually, Woodford plans to disclose the entire portfolio on a monthly basis on its website, starting in July.