LONDON — Edelman Smithfield, the financial PR and strategic communications team within Edelman UK, has hired Olivier Lebleu to lead its fast-growing ESG consultancy practice.

Lebleu joins from the CFA Institute – the global association of investment professionals – where he was senior director for EMEA, responsible for leading the team and liaising with investment firms, asset owners, regulators and academic institutions across the region. He also helped with the global launch of the institute’s certificate in ESG investing and helped to develop the curriculum of its new UK certificate in climate and investing.

Before joining the CFA Institute, Lebleu was head of international business at NYSE-listed Brightsphere Investment Group, where he led client teams across EMEA and APAC and was chair of the ESG working group.

As Edelman Smithfield’s head of ESG, Lebleu will work with Heidi DuBois, Edelman’s global head of ESG, who said: “ESG is a global movement, with global ramifications for business, for society, and for the planet. The role of the capital markets cannot be underestimated, and bringing Olivier’s deep experience in allocating capital for the long term to our clients is a game-changer.”

Edelman Smithfield MD Iain Dey added that Lebleu’s arrival “allows us to turbocharge our growth ambitions and get deeper into the investor relations aspect of ESG advice.”

The ESG team includes experts across non-financial reporting, investor relations, stakeholder communication, narrative development, public affairs, advocacy, corporate reputation, digital and social media and creative campaigning. It works with clients to build environmental, social and governance factors into business strategies and communicate performance, including disclosure of ESG targets and metrics, improving engagement with investors and stakeholder groups, and embedding ESG principles, policies and behaviours into their operations.

Hugh Taggart, co-chief executive, Edelman UK said the ESG practice had grown rapidly in response to client demand since it was set up two years ago: “The ESG revolution is here and now. All of our clients are having to pay closer attention to ESG metrics and how they communicate their performance. Olivier, with his deep technical experience on ESG, is a heavyweight addition to the team.”