Bluebell Capital Partners has called on asset management giant BlackRock to replace CEO Larry Fink and launch a strategic review into its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investment policies.
“As shareholder in BlackRock, we are increasingly concerned about the reputational risk to which you have unreasonably exposed the company potentially fueling a gap between the ‘talk’ and the ‘walk’ on ESG investing,” London-based Bluebell stated in a letter addressed to Fink and BlackRock’s board, seen by Insightia. The activist added that BlackRock’s ESG strategy “has alienated clients and attracted an undesired level of negative publicity.”
Bluebell called on Blackrock to split the role of chairman and chief executive officer and appoint a new CEO and “de-personalize” its ESG policies.
Fink currently holds both roles and has acted as a high-profile proponent of ESG investment. But by doing so he “has managed to alienate the public opinion of twenty-three US states in representation of approximately 150 million people,” wrote Bluebell.
Overall, the activist urged BlackRock to take a more neutral position in term of ESG investment and focus on increasing returns for investors.
“It is not BlackRock’s role to direct the public debate on climate and energy
policies or to impose ideological beliefs on the corporate world,” Bluebell stated. “BlackRock’s mission as an investment manager should be simply to act as a fiduciary to your clients in managing their assets and maximize financial risk-adjusted returns in accordance with the objective you are given.”