This Week’s People Moves: Simpson Steps Down as CDP CEO

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of moves and appointments in the sustainable investing sector, including CDP, Loomis Sayles, UKSIF, Built by Nature, Arcadian AM, London Pensions Fund Authority and PLSA.

Paul Simpson is stepping down after 12 years as CEO of environmental disclosure platform CDP, which he co-founded in 2002, with Paul Dickinson, Tessa Tennant and Jeremy Smith. Under Simpson’s leadership, CDP has tripled in size to over 550 people in 19 countries, while expanding corporate disclosure of climate and other environmental data to cover 64% of global market capitalisation last year. CDP was also instrumental in the creation of the Science Based Targets Initiative, We Mean Business Coalition and The Investor Agenda, which have contributed to the acceleration of private sector action on climate. “I am extremely proud of what we have achieved at CDP over the past 21 years. Our work pioneering climate and environmental disclosure has truly reached the mainstream. In 2021 over 13,000 companies disclosed through CDP along with over 1,200 cities, states and regions. Some 3,000 companies have now committed to set a Science Based Target,” he said. “However, the climate and ecological crises are still accelerating. To provide us a chance of limiting warming to 1.5C, emissions need to be reduced by 7% p.a. this decade. Whilst awareness is high, and ambitious commitments are growing, we must drive more action rapidly.” Simpson will step down as CEO effective on 30 June, leaving the firm at the end of July. CDP is in the process of launching a search for its new CEO to ensure a smooth transition.

Colleen Denzler has joined investment firm Loomis Sayles as Head of ESG. Based in Boston, she will report to CIO David Waldman. Denzler will help to advance the firm’s existing ESG initiatives and ensure investment teams have access to ESG data and research, collaborating with industry groups to foster sustainable investment management practices for clients and stakeholders. With over 35 years in the asset management industry, Denzler has held a number of investment roles, starting at Calvert Asset Management and most recently at Smith Capital Investors. “Good governance and sustainable business practices are inherent factors in our decision-making as long-term investors who seek to deliver superior long-term, risk-adjusted returns to our clients. Colleen’s extensive background will be an asset as we strive to leverage ESG insights and data in our investment processes and to design products consistent with clients’ ESG objectives,” said Waldman.

UKSIF, which represents the UK’s sustainable finance community, has elected a number of senior industry representatives elected to its policy committee, which supports the organisation’s public policy activity and positions. Following committee elections, the new members are Tim Lord, Head of Climate Change at Phoenix Group, Maria Nazarova-Doyle, Head of Pension Investments at Scottish Widows, Ashley Dorrington, Executive Director, Group Public and Regulatory Affairs at Standard Chartered, Simon Oswald, Senior Manager – Sustainability and Climate Change at PwC, and Lee Shankland-Gort, Head of Social, Sustainable and Green Finance at Addleshaw Goddard. The committee is chaired by Olga Hancock, Senior Engagement Analyst in the Responsible Investment team of the Church Commissioners for England. “We’re extremely pleased with the five candidates elected, who we think can really help drive forward our policy work going forward. To date, there has been relatively less representation on the committee on the asset owner side specifically, which this recent set of elections seems to have now fortunately remedied,” said UKSIF CEO James Alexander.

Amanda Sturgeon has been appointed CEO of Built by Nature, a network and grant-making fund founded by the Laudes Foundation to accelerate timber building across the UK and Europe. Sturgeon joins from consultancy firm Mott MacDonald, where she worked as the Regenerative Design and Climate Change Practice Lead for the APAC region. “Built by Nature is playing a critical role accelerating the timber building transformation,” said Chair Donald Brenninkmeijer. “The immense experience and knowledge Amanda brings to the role of CEO, from non-profit leadership and stakeholder management, to fundraising and technical expertise, is key to driving forward this timely and significant initiative.”

Acadian Asset Management has appointed Andrea Stevenson as Product Strategist. She will focus on the global development of Acadian’s systematic macro business, including building out its sustainable investment framework. Prior to joining, Stevenson was Head of Business Development at Neuron Advisers, a boutique quantitative alternative investment firm. Ian Shea, Head of Acadian’s UK affiliate business, said: “We are seeing growing demand from institutional investors for products that consistently generate uncorrelated and diversified returns and for sustainable alternative investment solutions. With her strong quantitative investment background and solid technical knowledge, Andrea will help shape the development of our systematic macro hedge fund strategies.”

Mark Allison, Leader of Merton Council, and Sophia Morrell, a Director at UK Finance, a trade association for the UK’s banking and financial services industry, have been appointed to the London Pensions Fund Authority (LPFA) Board. During Allison’s time as Cabinet Member for Finance at Merton, the council’s pension fund became fully funded and a new investment strategy was agreed, including an enhanced approach to ESG. As Director of UK Public Affairs for UK Finance, Morrell leads domestic government relations and advocates for the UK’s financial services sector. The LPFA is a defined-benefit LGPS with over 93,000 members, 124 active employers and £6.9 billion of assets, as of 31 March 2021. It is a Tier 1 signatory to the UK’s Stewardship Code, a signatory of the Climate Action 100+ and a member of the LAPFF. The LPFA will publish its net zero plan this September, having made a net zero commitment in September 2021.

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), the trade body for UK pension schemes, has appointed six new members to its policy board. The new members of the 20-strong board are Tesco’s Laura Hay, Royal London’s Jamie Jenkins, London Stock Exchange Group’s Ava Lau, Greater Manchester’s Euan Miller, Smart Pension’s Darren Philp and Pinsent Masons’ Carolyn Saunders. The PLSA’s policy board guides and decides on the association’s public policy positions, with a remit stretching across all policy work on pensions and lifetime savings. It is chaired by John Chilman, Chief Executive at Railpen, and represents participants from across the PLSA’s membership, including pension funds from the defined benefit, defined contribution, LGPS and master trust sectors, as well as business members such as employee benefits consultants and law firms.



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