Edelman Smithfield is accelerating the growth of its rapidly-expanding ESG Consultancy practice with the recruitment of investment industry veteran Olivier Lebleu, CFA, to lead the team.

Lebleu will take on the role as Head of ESG, Edelman Smithfield, from September 1, working in close collaboration with Heidi DuBois, Edelman’s Global Head of ESG. He joins from the CFA Institute, where he was Senior Director EMEA, responsible for leading the institutional team and liaising with investment firms, asset owners, regulators, and academic institutions across the region.

In his previous role, Olivier also helped co-ordinate the global launch of the CFA Institute’s certificate in ESG investing and was part of a working group that developed the curriculum of the soon-to-be launched CFA UK Certificate in Climate and Investing (CCI).

Hugh Taggart, co-Chief Executive, Edelman UK said: “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.”

Iain Dey, Managing Director, Edelman Smithfield said: “We have built a strong position in ESG over recent months, winning work with a number of large, global companies. The team is doing an excellent job, and Olivier’s arrival allows us to turbocharge our growth ambitions and get deeper into the Investor Relations aspect of ESG advice.”

Heidi DuBois, Edelman’s global head of ESG, 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 gamechanger.”

Lebleu has nearly 30 years’ experience working in financial services across numerous front office functions in investment management, including direct investments, distribution, marketing, and investor relations. Prior to joining the CFA Institute, Lebleu was Head of International Business at Brightsphere Investment Group (NYSE: BSIG), where he led client coverage teams across EMEA and APAC and was chair of the Brightsphere ESG working group. He is also a CFA charter holder and a graduate of Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

Edelman Smithfield is the financial PR and strategic communications team within Edelman UK. Since its launch almost two years ago, the ESG Consultancy has grown rapidly in response to rising client demand.

According to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report on Investors, some 90% of investors globally believe that prioritising ESG initiatives leads to higher investment returns over the longer-term. In addition, one third of investors check whether a company meets ESG investment criteria before they even analyse the business or its strategy.

The Edelman ESG team works with a number of blue-chip clients to build the management of material environmental, social and governance factors into their business strategies and effectively communicate their performance.

Key areas of expertise include optimising disclosure of ESG targets and metrics, and improving engagement with investors and broader stakeholder groups. The team has also counselled clients on how to embed ESG principles, policies, and behaviours into their operations.

The team comprises experts across non-financial reporting, investor relations, stakeholder communication, narrative development, public affairs, advocacy, corporate reputation, digital and social media, and creative campaigning.