Maja Pawinska Sims 07 Jul 2020 // 4:29PM GMT
LONDON — Former Labour MP and shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna has joined Edelman as executive director and head of its environmental, social and governance (ESG) offer.
The appointment comes days after the agency announced that it had hired another former Labour and then Liberal Democrat MP, Luciana Berger, as managing director of advocacy and public affairs.
As part of Edelman’s specialist capital markets and financial services team, Smithfield, Umunna will lead a team advising business leaders on ESG audit, embedding ESG into decision making, strategy and culture and managing ESG issues relating to corporate transactions.
Edelman Smithfield advises on large cross-border transactions and fundraisings as well as domestic deals. It acts for investment managers with more than $4 trillion of assets under management as well as some of the world’s largest private equity firms and sovereign wealth funds.
Before entering politics in 2010 as Labour MP for Streatham, Umunna was a solicitor and corporate employment lawyer. He held senior posts in parliament until 2019, including leading on economic, business, trade and foreign policy issues on the opposition benches.
He was one of the MPs behind Small Business Saturday in the UK, led the successful campaign against the hostile takeover of AstraZeneca by Pfizer and became a leading advocate of the stakeholder capitalism agenda, campaigning for more diversity in the boardroom.
Edelman’s third annual Investor Trust report showed that investors believe companies must address the needs of a wide range of stakeholders, not just shareholders, and must implement effective ESG practices to win trust across all these audiences.
General manager of corporate affairs, Hugh Taggart, said: “If we have learnt anything about business during the pandemic, it’s that they will undoubtedly be held to higher ethical standards. Anyone – including companies in the private sector – with the resources to help solve the problems society faces, will be expected to make a contribution.
“In a time of such profound change, we couldn’t have found a better person than Chuka to spearhead our ESG offer and advise our clients. Chuka is a deep and analytical thinker, a passionate campaigner for a fairer society and joins Edelman at a time when Smithfield continues its rapid ascension as a leading adviser to many of the top global financial institutions.”
Umunna added: “I’m honoured to be joining Edelman to lead its ESG consultancy offer. Smithfield has a strong history of executing extensive consultancy work for companies and asset managers in the UK and internationally on the management of ESG factors.”