LONDON, 16 August 2013 - The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) today announced that Dr. James Gifford, the founding Executive Director of the initiative, is moving on to take up new challenges. He will continue to fulfill the responsibilities of his role until the end of November. Dr. Gifford has been Executive Director of the PRI since the Principles were launched in 2006 by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Between 2003 and 2006, he worked for UNEP Finance Initiative, in collaboration with the UN Global Compact, as lead project manager for the PRI Initiative, leading the process to develop and draft the principles.
Dr. Gifford said: “It has been a privilege to serve as the PRI’s first Executive Director and I’m immensely proud of what we have achieved. In the decade I’ve been working on this initiative, responsible investment has grown dramatically and I believe the PRI has played an important role in that growth, and will continue to do so. It has been an amazing experience to see the initiative go from an idea to a global organisation with more than 1,200 signatories, trillions of dollars signed up and meaningful implementation of the Principles within the industry. With the PRI now established as a global institution with a strong leadership team, it is well placed to go from strength to strength. It is now time for me to take on the next big challenge.”
Glen Saunders, Chair of the PRI Association Board, said: “We are sad to see James leave and I would like to thank him for his inspired leadership of the PRI Initiative. He has been a visionary for the organisation and the responsible investment industry. He is leaving the PRI on a solid footing. We have a clear strategy, strong support in the industry, an experienced team, and a lot of momentum for delivering the PRI’s mission”.
Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, said “James is a true norm entrepreneur, envisioning an idea for taking responsible investment forward, and within one decade building a globally recognised organisation to advance the idea. This is a huge accomplishment. We are proud to have supported him from the beginning.”
The PRI Association Board and PRI Advisory Council will meet in Cape Town, South Africa, in late September to discuss the succession plan for the role.
Note to editors:
Dr Gifford holds a PhD from the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Sydney on the effectiveness of shareholder engagement in improving corporate environmental, social and corporate governance performance and is an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Management at the University of St Andrews. He holds degrees in Commerce and Law from the University of Queensland, and a Master’s of Environment Management from the University of New South Wales. He was named in 2010 by the World Economic Forum as one of 200 Young Global Leaders.
About the Principles for Responsible Investment
The United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative (PRI) is an investor initiative in partnership with UNEP FI and the UN Global Compact. The Principles were devised by the investment community in a UN-convened process and reflect the view that environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues can affect the performance of investment portfolios and therefore must be given appropriate consideration by investors if they are to fulfil their fiduciary (or equivalent) duty. The Principles provide a voluntary framework by which all investors can incorporate ESG issues into their decision-making and ownership practices and so better align their objectives with those of society at large.
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