This Week’s People Moves: GRI Unveils Two-tier Board Structure

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of new hires in the sustainable investing sector, including GRI, Aegon AM, Persefoni, Denham Capital, Cambridge Associates and EV Private Equity.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has announced plans to restructure its governance with a two-tier board structure. Taking effect from 31 October, the current board of directors will form the GRI Supervisory Board. Another management board will also be created, consisting of GRI’s incoming CEO and Dani Marunovic, the standards-setter’s CFO. “Five years after transitioning to become the global standard setter for sustainability reporting, GRI has certainly earned its place as the driver for corporate transparency. These governance changes will prepare GRI as we take on an increasingly influential role as an enabler for responsible business practices around the world,” said Eric Hespenheide, Chair of the GRI. He will be stepping down from his position and will be appointed as interim CEO until a new CEO is hired. Jack Ehnes, a former CEO of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), will become Chair of the Supervisory Board, while Jessica Fries, Executive Chair of Accounting for Sustainability (A4S), will continue in her capacity as Vice-Chair. “With the global sustainability reporting landscape maturing, GRI finds itself at the centre of the debate on how to achieve effective and transparent reporting for the impacts of organisations. Looking ahead, we can expect further harmonization of standards and frameworks, in which GRI has a pivotal role. GRI being named co-constructor of new EU sustainability reporting standards by the European Commission is an important illustration of where we can influence the alignment of global and regional requirements for impact reporting,” said Ehnes. These changes are a result of a governance review launched in May in order to ensure the GRI complies with new legislation in the Netherlands, where the standards-setting body is based.

Aegon Asset Management has bolstered its responsible investment team with three new hires. Andy Woods has joined the UK team as Responsible Investment Manager and will be responsible for heading voting activities and related engagements with companies across Aegon’s portfolios. Prior to this appointment, he led institutional voting information services at the Association of British Insurers. Jamie McAloon has also been hired into the UK team as Responsible Investment Associate. Joining from abrdn, he will be supporting Aegon’s existing sustainable range of products with analysis of existing and potential holdings. In the US, Curtis Zappala will now serve as Responsible Investment Associate, focusing on ESG integration and engagement while supporting Aegon’s fixed income investment platform. “We have built a comprehensive responsible investment approach, with a 30-year history of investing in this area. The three new appointments allow us to continue our work, broadening our expertise, knowledge and skills base. I’d like to welcome Zappala, Woods and McAloon to the team and look forward to the fresh perspective and enthusiasm they will bring,” said Brunno Maradei, Head of Responsible Investment at Aegon AM.

SaaS-based carbon accounting and management platform Persefoni has appointed Paul Dickinson to its Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB). As the Founder and Chair of disclosure platform CDP, Dickinson has deep expertise on the climate standards, systems and targets that guide organisations and institutional investors in the decarbonisation efforts. He is also Chair of the Trustees for NGO ShareAction, a Trustee of the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, Advisor to NGO InfluenceMap and a Trustee of the Friends Provident Foundation. “Dickinson is a pioneer and visionary in the carbon management space. He understood early on the powerful role large companies can – and must – play in combating climate change, as well as the influence that investors have on corporate action and disclosure. Persefoni is thrilled to welcome him to our growing SAB as we continue to offer unparalleled climate expertise to our customers and partners,” said Tim Mohin, Persefoni’s Chief Sustainability Officer and SAB member.

Denham Capital, a sustainable infrastructure, energy and resources investment manager, has hired Iryna Voronova as Portfolio Manager of its newly launched Sustainable Infrastructure Credit Platform. Joining from Siemens Financial Services, Voronova will help to accelerate the growth of the new platform, which was launched earlier this year with a US$2 billion commitment from Aflac Global Investments. “Key to our success is building a robust and diverse team of experts – Voronova’s leadership experience coupled with her deep investment expertise make her an excellent addition to the team as we drive forward our long-term ambition to advance the energy transition whilst delivering economic growth,” said Jorge Camiña, Head of Credit at Denham Capital.

Melinda Wright has been appointed as Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at global investment firm Cambridge Associates. Wright will work alongside the firm’s leadership to help increase diverse representation both internally and industry-wide. She joins from the Walton Family Foundation, where she helped to elevate diversity and equity as key factors in the foundation’s investment strategy and grant making. “Wright brings skills and experiences to Cambridge that will meaningfully build on the work we’ve begun to amplify diversity, equity, and inclusion in our firm and within the investment management industry. Her first-hand knowledge and expertise in this space will reframe and guide our thinking as we acquire and retain talent, enhance our culture and create high-impact investment opportunities for our clients,” said David Druley, CEO of Cambridge Associates.

Global energy technology investor EV Private Equity has appointed Ulrika Wising to its Advisory Board. As Vice President of Global Customer Solutions Shell, Wising has experience across the energy mix and chaired Shell’s first capital investment forum for sustainable power projects. She also previously served as Vice President of Solar and Battery Storage at Macquarie Group. EV will be leveraging her expertise to accelerate the development of sustainable energy technologies focused on decarbonisation across its portfolio. “We’re delighted to benefit from Wising’s broad knowledge base across the full spectrum of the energy industry. Wising’s track record of renewable energy technology development will be invaluable to the continued growth of our portfolio against the industry’s net zero backdrop,” said Helge Tveit, Managing Partner of EV Private Equity.

The practical information hub for asset owners looking to invest successfully and sustainably for the long term. As best practice evolves, we will share the news, insights and data to guide asset owners on their individual journey to ESG integration.

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