Industry

This Week’s People Moves: Stiell is New UNFCCC Executive Secretary

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of moves and appointments in the sustainable investing sector, including UNFCCC, WTW, Calvert, Actis and Insight Investment.  

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has appointed Simon Stiell as its new Executive Secretary. For just under a decade, Stiell served as a Senior Minister for the Government of Grenada, five years of which he was Minister for Climate Resilience and the Environment. He has also previously served as Minister for Education and Human Resource Development, Minister of State with responsibility for Human Resource Development and the Environment, and as Junior Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment. Prior to his roles in Grenada, Stiell had a 14-year career in the technology sector, holding senior executive positions at companies, including at Silicon Valley-based technology start-ups and major corporations Nokia and G.E.C. The appointment has been endorsed by the Bureau of the UNFCCC. Stiell takes over from Patricia Espinoza, who served as UNFCCC Executive Secretary for two three-year terms. Under her stewardship, the unfinished global climate rulebook drawn up in Paris in 2015 was completed last year at COP26 in Glasgow, including agreements on carbon markets and other contentious issues. She also oversaw a period in which the UNFCCC had to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic and Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Espinosa welcomed Stiell’s appointment and said: “Congratulations, my friend, for your appointment as UNFCCC Head. You will see what a great team you will lead! You have my full support for the work ahead.” 

Advisory firm Willis Towers Watson (WTW) has announced the appointment of Sarah Conway as Head of its Ecosystem Resilience practice and Director in the Disaster Risk Finance / Parametrics unit of the company’s Climate and Resilience Hub. Conway has 15 years of experience in climate and conservation finance, and was previously Lead Climate Finance Negotiator for the US delegation to the UN framework convention on climate change, including at COP21 in Paris. During her time at the US Department State, she also helped with the design and launch of the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance and the pilot auction facility for methane and climate change mitigation. Conway has run her own consultancy, specialising in innovative climate and conservation finance solutions, including systematic observations and early warning systems, climate-smart urban infrastructure, ecosystem conservation and livelihood protection for leading international institutions. Simon Young, WTW’s Climate and Resilience Hub Senior Director, said: “Conway takes us to the next level, bringing a wealth of experience across climate, nature, finance and policy, making her a perfect fit for our growing Disaster Risk Finance and Parametrics team and the pioneering work we are doing on ecosystem resilience, helping to further advance WTW’s role in shaping the global agenda for private sector efforts for a sustainable blue economy.”  

Calvert Research and Management, a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley, has announced the appointment of Von Hughes to the newly created role of Head of Calvert Institutional Solutions Group. This follows the launch of Calvert’s suite of responsible investing strategies to the European marketplace and its expansion of core research and engagement teams. Hughes joins from PAAMCOPrisma where he was the Global Head of Strategic Advisory and Client Acquisition and a member of the firm’s executive committee. He was previously Vice President of the Equity Capital Markets Group at Goldman Sachs and Managing Director at Utendahl Capital Partners where he led the mergers and acquisitions group. John Streur, Calvert’s President and CEO, said: “Hughes will help us highlight the tremendous value this brings to clients and articulate why we believe better managing sustainability issues leads to stronger outcomes.”  

Sustainable infrastructure investor Actis has appointed Lynnette Mays as Director, Americas, within its Investor Development Group (IDG). Mays has 20 years of experience in roles across investment management, investor relations, fundraising and institutional advisory. She was previously a Director in the Capital Markets Group at Hines, where she was responsible for creating a market presence and raising capital within the US for a global suite of discretionary funds. Mays has also previously worked at Stoltz Real Estate Partners and Newport Capital Partners. Neil Brown, Head of the Investor Development Group at Actis, said: “Mays’ experience in real estate and investor relations will support our goal to build meaningful relationships with Limited Partners in the Americas region and help us continue to build momentum as we invest behind global sustainable infrastructure themes.”  

David McNeil has joined UK-based asset manager Insight Investment as its new Head of Responsible Investment, Research, Innovation and Advocacy. McNeil has previous experience in the field, having held the role of Director and Head of Climate Risks at Fitch Ratings. In his new role, McNeil will report to the firm’s Head of Responsible Investment, Robert Sawbridge. McNeil’s appointment is the ninth new hire for Insight Investment’s responsible investment team. 

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