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Australia’s David Atkin to take the lead at PRI


David Atkin is to become the new chief executive of PRI, it was announced in London last night (November 1). He takes up the role on December 10 when fellow Australian Fiona Reynolds departs for home after nine years.

Reynolds has just seen out a successful annual PRI conference and is remaining with the organisation through the COP26 talks in Glasgow. This also gives Atkin (photo above) a little time for a hand-over period. He starts with PRI as an adviser on November 15.

Atkin is one of Australia’s most experienced and senior super fund executives, best known for 12 years as chief executive of Cbus. Atkin is a current director of the Climate Council, an Australian not-for-profit organisation, and a former board member of the PRI, from 2009-2015. He was also a director of asset consultant Frontier for 10 years and a chair of SuperFriend, the industry-fund-owned mental health help body, for three years.

  • His most recent executive role has been as deputy chief executive of AMP Capital, which he left in July this year. Prior to Cbus, Atkin ran Media Super (then known as JUST) for about 18 months followed by a similarly short stint running ESSSuper. He started his career in the trade union movement as national office industrial division manager for the Finance Sector Union from 1996-2000.

    While it may seem unusual to have another Australian to run PRI, the Australian fund and fund manager membership base within the organisation is significant and the Asia Pacific region represents the area of most rapid growth for PRI membership.

    Reynolds said in the overnight statement: “I have known David for more than 20 years, and he is a natural leader who is passionate about sustainable investing. He has incredibly strong knowledge and experience of the powerful role investors can play as stewards of capital and will be an asset to PRI as it continues to grow.” 

    Martin Skancke, PRI chair, who led the search process for the new chief executive, said: “David is a passionate and authentic leader with a deep understanding of mission-driven organisations, and a highly experienced and effective manager. David brings a strong understanding of the needs of PRI’s signatories to the organisation, with a sophisticated knowledge of the priorities and management of asset owners gained from his time in the investment industry.

    “He is ideally suited to lead PRI at a time of continued growth in its presence and membership around the world, which has been expertly led by Fiona Reynolds for the past nine years. As David takes on the CEO role, we are also tremendously thankful to Fiona for her contributions.”

    Atkin said: “I am very excited to be given this opportunity to lead the PRI in its next phase of meeting the needs of its broad and diverse signatory base.

    “Responsible investment has entered the mainstream and today, for the first time, the majority of investors around the world recognise the importance of incorporating ESG factors into their investment and ownership activities.”

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