BEI announces new Chair and Vice-Chair

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership’s Banking Environment Initiative (BEI) has announced ABN AMRO Global Head of Group Sustainability Richard Kooloos as its new Chair and former Bank of England Senior Advisor Michael Sheren as Vice-Chair. 

The new appointments reflect Richard’s and Michael’s deep sector knowledge as well as their passion for driving progress on sustainability in the finance arena.  Their skills and experience will support the BEI’s goals of supporting decarbonisation of the global economy, protection and restoration of nature, and building inclusive and resilient societies.   

The BEI is convened by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and collaborates to deliver applied research and develop leadership tools to contribute towards a sustainable economy. Its members include ABN AMRO, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest Group, Santander and Standard Chartered. 

Richard Kooloos, BEI Chair said: “The combined experience and knowledge of the BEI members and CISL is a very powerful force. Together with Michael and the CISL team we want to deliver both strategic insights as well as very practical tooling to enable our members to help their clients transition to a 1.5 degree scenario in a just way.” 

Richard’s career includes 11 years as Global Head of Group Sustainability at ABN AMRO, responsible for developing and executing the bank’s sustainability strategy. Previously, he was CEO of ABN AMRO Greenbank, a subsidiary of ABN AMRO which solely financed green initiatives.  

As Senior Advisor for the Bank of England, Michael provided counsel to senior management on critical risk, governance and operational matters within the financial markets. Michael has been one of the Bank’s leaders in the area of climate risk in the financial system. As part of his climate work, he Co-Chaired the G20 Sustainable Finance Study Group with China, is a UK delegate to the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) and a contributor to the digital green bond work within the Innovation Hub of the Bank of International Settlements. He continues to be Senior Advisor of the UN Development Programme’s Finance Sector Hub. 

Michael Sheren, BEI Vice-Chair said: “I look forward to working with Richard and the talented collection of bankers within the BEI who are advancing important, impactful and innovative solutions to climate risk and threats to natural capital by making sustainability a key focus in the financial service sector.”  

Outgoing Chair, Simon Connell, former Global Head of Sustainability Strategy at Standard Chartered, and outgoing Vice-Chair Paul Fisher, CISL Fellow, have guided the BEI through a number of significant initiatives during their years of chairmanship, including:  

Dr Nina Seega, Research Director for Sustainable Finance, CISL said: “CISL is deeply grateful to Simon Connell and Paul Fisher for their valuable contributions as outgoing Chair and Vice-Chair of BEI. The Banking Environment Initiative has benefitted hugely from their guidance. We welcome Richard Kooloos and Michael Sheren into their new roles and look forward to harnessing the strategic, ambitious and practical vision they bring to the BEI’s leadership team.”   

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