Industry

This Week’s People Moves: Ex-Norges CEO Joins Aker with Active Mandate

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of new hires in the sustainable investing sector, including Norges Bank Investment Management, UBS Asset Management, JP Morgan Asset Management, Blue Horizon, Sphera, Janus Henderson Investors and Angelo Gordon.

Yngve Slyngstad, the outgoing CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) – Norway’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF) – has been appointed CEO of Aker Asset Management, also based in Norway. Slyngstad leaves the world’s largest SWF after 13 years at the helm and over 20 years at the company, during which time he was instrumental in building its equity management  activities. Slyngstad was hired by Norwegian conglomerate Aker to lead its asset management unit, focusing on renewable energy projects, the company said. Slyngstad will be responsible for building and developing active asset management to become a new business area in Aker, on par with the company’s industrial holdings. He will start March 1, 2022. “I have been very fortunate to have participated in building the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund. Its value has increased more than a hundredfold since we established the capital management organisation in 1998. The fund will remain one of the most important foundations for the Norwegian society laid down by our generation”, said Slyngstad. “Yngve has been instrumental in the development of NBIM. I am grateful that he continued in the fund after stepping down as CEO in order to help my transition. I am thrilled that he is staying in Norway to help expand the asset management industry based here,” said incoming CEO Nicolai Tangen, who joined NBIM in September 2020, from AKO Capital.

UBS Asset Management (UBS AM) appointed Lucy Thomas as Head of Sustainable Investing. In this role, Thomas will be responsible for leading the delivery of UBS AM’s sustainability and impact strategy; and will report to Barry Gill, Head of Investments for UBS AM. She will be based in Zurich. Thomas has 20 years of experience in the industry and joins UBS AM from TCorp, the financial markets partner of the New South Wales government in Australia, where she was Head of Investment Stewardship. Prior to that, she was Global Head of Sustainable Investment at Willis Towers Watson from 2014 to 2018. She started her career as an analyst on the graduate programme at Morgan Stanley. “During her 20-year career, Lucy has worked as an asset owner, asset manager, and asset advisor and brings experience working with clients and leading the integration of sustainability factors into the investment process globally,” said Gill.

Yo Takatsuki has been appointed Global Head of Investment Stewardship in a newly created role at JP Morgan Asset Management (JPM AM). Takatsuki joined the firm in February 2021 and will continue to lead JPM AM’s investment stewardship efforts in EMEA, including proxy voting, corporate engagement, and stewardship reporting. Effective 1 December 2021, these responsibilities will now extend to North America and Asia Pacific, with Takatsuki overseeing the global coordination of JPM AM’s regional investment stewardship practices. He will continue to report to Jennifer Wu, JPM AM’s Global Head of Sustainable Investing, based in London. JPM AM’s existing regional stewardship heads Nishesh Kumar (North America), Felix Lam (Asia ex-Japan) and Shizuko Ohmi (Japan) will now report to Takatsuki. “As we continue to build our stewardship activities globally, we look forward to having Yo spearhead our corporate engagement and proxy voting practice,” said Wu on Takatsuki’s expanded role. “Yo has hit the ground running since joining our team, so we’re delighted he has accepted this new global remit.” JPM AM has 13 stewardship specialists, working with JPM AM’s portfolio managers and research analysts across asset classes, and focusing on priorities such as climate risk, human capital management, government, strategy alignment with the long term and stakeholder engagement.

Blue Horizon has appointed Manu Gupta to its Board of Directors. Gupta’s appointment followed other hires including a General Counsel, a new Partner, as well as two Directors to the investment team. The investment team of nine now consists of 67% women with 28 Blue Horizon employees worldwide. Gupta has worked in investment technology for 12 years across the US, Europe, and Asia and was founder of Blue Lion, and a founding member and ex-Partner of Lakestar, one of Europe’s largest tech venture funds. Gupta was previously an Executive Director and Head of European Internet coverage at Goldman Sachs, working across both the London and San Francisco offices. He started his career as a Product Manager at Oracle and software coder at Sun Microsystems.

Janus Henderson Investors made six new appointments to its ESG Investment Team, led by Paul LaCoursiere, Global Head of ESG Investments. In London, Dan Raghoonundon, ESG Research Lead; Charles Devereux, ESG Research Analyst; Olivia Jones, Junior ESG Research Analyst; Jesse Verheijen, ESG Data Analyst; and Bhaskar Sastry, ESG Content Manager will join; while in Denver, Blake Bennett joins as Governance and Stewardship Analyst. These new external appointees come in addition to recent internal moves; in June Adrienn Sarandi moved from an ESG role in the Fixed Income Team, to take up the newly created role as Head of ESG Strategy and Development. Meanwhile, Xiaoyi Luo joined as an ESG Research Analyst; while Charlotte Nisbet became an ESG Research Analyst, having previously worked in a similar role internally. Raghoonundon returns to Janus Henderson as ESG Research Lead, after concluding a three-year PhD in Finance at the Rotterdam School of Management. Previously, he was a portfolio manager in the Emerging Markets Equities team at Janus Henderson Investors. Devereaux, ESG Corporate Research Analyst, joins from Aviva Investors, where he was an ESG Sector Analyst in investment management. Prior to this, he spent a year as an ESG Solutions analyst and Corporate Strategy Analyst at Aviva Investors. Jones joins from Kukua, an ESG consultancy where she worked as an ESG and Sustainability Analyst. Verheijen joins as an ESG Data Analyst from Aviva Investors. For the past two years, he worked as a data scientist in the Aviva Investors Transformation team and, prior to that, as a senior risk consultant at EY. Sastry joins from State Street Global Advisors where he has worked since 2019 as an ESG Content Specialist. Bennett was previously an Operations and Policy Analyst at the State of Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality. In addition, there are hires planned for more Stewardship and Governance roles over the next few months.

Credit and real estate investment firm Angelo Gordon appointed Allison Binns, former Executive Director for Global Sustainability Research at Morgan Stanley, as Head of ESG and Sustainable Investing Strategies. In this new role, Binns will lead strategic approach to ESG integration across the company. Binns will report to Josh Baumgarten and Adam Schwartz, Angelo Gordon’s co-Chief Executive Officers. Before joining Morgan Stanley, Binns spent seven years at Chevron, where she served in a number of senior corporate advisory roles focused on ESG and geopolitical issues. “We are excited to welcome Allison on board to accelerate our current efforts in this area,” Schwartz said. “Allison’s experience makes her the ideal partner for our investment teams as we expand ESG integration across our investing strategies.”

Software and consulting company Sphera has appointed Michelle Beckers as general counsel with a focus on the company’s legal strategy to support the company’s work in ESG. Beckers, who will be based in Sphera’s Chicago headquarters, has almost 20 years of legal experience. Most recently, she served as associate general counsel at Progress Software, a business application software company. She previously held senior leadership roles at InnerWorkings and Rimini Street. “It’s an exciting time to be joining Sphera as more and more businesses worldwide seek ESG solutions,” Beckers said. “The global marketplace is complex with varying regulatory requirements across different geographic regions.”

 

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