Arabesque Appoints Three New Members to Board of Directors

Dr Carolyn Woo, former CEO of Catholic Relief Services; Professor John Ruggie, Harvard Kennedy School; and Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF International, to join Arabesque’s Board


London, 12th September 2017 – Arabesque is pleased to announce the appointment of three new non-executive directors to the Board. Subject to regulatory approval, the new members of the Board are:

  • Dr. Carolyn Woo, former CEO and President of Catholic Relief Services.
  • John Ruggie, the Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School.
  • Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF International. Ms. Kakabadse’s role on the Board will commence on January 1st 2018, following the completion of her term of office at WWF International.

They join Barbara J. Krumsiek, former CEO and President of Calvert Investments, and Georg Kell, founding Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, on the Board of Directors.

Speaking on today’s announcement, Chairman Georg Kell, said: “For the next phase of Arabesque’s growth, we have been looking to add globally recognised leaders in sustainable development to the board. I am delighted to welcome Yolanda Kakabadse, Professor John Ruggie, and Dr. Carolyn Woo to Arabesque. Their expertise in the respective fields of the environment, human rights, and faith-based investing will prove invaluable for the continued development of our company.”

Kell said: “I have no doubt they will contribute significantly to our long-term success, and to achieving our vision of mainstreaming sustainable finance. This board has the capacity, experience and determination to guide Arabesque to become a leader in ESG investment.”

Omar Selim, CEO of Arabesque, said: “Under the chairmanship of Georg, our new board includes some of the most respected names in their fields. I am deeply humbled by the gravitas they bring to the firm, and of their shared commitment to using finance as a tool that can help create a more sustainable world. Working together, our vision is to grow and expand ESG investing around the globe.”

Arabesque is an asset management firm, spun off from Barclays Bank in 2013, that uses self-learning quantitative models and big data to assess the performance and sustainability of listed companies. The firm’s rules-based approach to stock selection integrates environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) information with financial and momentum analysis, processing over 100 billion data points via 250,000 lines of code to construct its strategies, and to deliver a range of ESG investment products.

Arabesque’s board will consist of five non-executive directors:

Georg Kell is the former Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative with over 8,000 corporate signatories in more than 160 countries. He helped to establish it into the foremost platform for the development, implementation and disclosure of responsible and sustainable corporate policies and practices. In a career of more than 25 years at the United Nations, Kell also oversaw the conception and launch of the Global Compact’s sister initiatives on investment, the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and on education, the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), together with the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative. He succeeded Professor Robert G. Eccles as Chairman of Arabesque in 2017.

Barbara J. Krumsiek is a globally recognized leader in sustainable investing, with a professional background spanning four decades in the asset management field, including most recently as the CEO and Chair of Calvert Investments, Inc. During her tenure at Calvert from 1997 to 2014, Krumsiek helped to triple the firm’s assets under management and developed Calvert Women’s Principles, a global code of conduct adopted by the U.N. Global Compact and U.N. Women as the basis for the U.N. Women’s Empowerment Principles. She additionally served as co-chair of the U.N. Environment Programme Finance Initiative from 2010 to 2012, a partnership between the United Nations and 200 global financial institutions mandated to develop and promote the links between sustainability and financial performance.

John Ruggie is the Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and an Affiliated Professor in International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School. In 2005, then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Ruggie as his Special Representative for Business and Human Rights, a post he continued to hold under the UN administration of Ban Ki-Moon until the end of his term in June 2011. At the close of his mandate, Ruggie presented to the UN Human Rights Council a set of Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. The Council unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles, establishing them as the authoritative global reference point on this issue. Professor Ruggie served from 1997 to 2001 as UN Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Planning to Kofi Annan. Trained as a political scientist, he has made significant intellectual contributions to the study of international relations and international law-making, focusing on the impact of economic and other forms of globalization on global rule making.

Dr. Carolyn Woo currently serves as the President’s Fellow for Global Development at Purdue University. In 2016, she retired as President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States, having joined in 2011. Before her role at CRS, Dr. Woo served as dean of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business where, during her tenure, the college was frequently recognized as the nation’s leading business school in ethics education and research. Dr. Woo was the first female dean to chair the accreditation body for business schools, AACSB: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and directed its Peace Through Commerce initiative. She also helped launch the Principles for Responsible Management Education for the United Nations Global Compact.

Yolanda Kakabadse is recognised as one of the world’s most prominent environmental leaders, and a global champion of sustainable development and biodiversity preservation. Since 2010, she has served as President of WWF International, one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations with more than 5 million supporters worldwide, and a presence in over 100 countries. Prior to that, Ms. Kakabadse was the Executive Director of Fundación Natura in Quito, President of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), and Minister of Environment for the Republic of Ecuador. In the late 1970s, Yolanda Kakabadse became dedicated to protecting the natural environment. In 1993, she created Fundacion Futuro Latino Americano, an organization dedicated to promoting the sustainable development of Latin America through conflict prevention and management. In 1990, she emerged onto the international stage when she worked for the United Nations in Geneva, and has served as a board member of several international organisations, including the Ford Foundation and the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction.