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Hermes beefs up its corporate governance team

UK- UK fund manager Hermes has stepped up its commitment to corporate governance and shareholder engagement by adding to the two teams, and by creating a corporate governance board.

Colin Melvin has been appointed as director of corporate governance at Hermes Pensions Management, where he will lead a team of seven who will be responsible for voting and other corporate governance.

Prior to joining Hermes, Melvin was head of corporate governance and socially responsible investments at Baillie Gifford.

Melvin takes over from Michelle Edkins, who joins Hermes Focus Asset Management in the new position of director of institutional relations.

Edkins will now be responsible for directing external relationships with global clients of Hermes Focus Funds, which invest in under-performing UK companies.

She will also be responsible for relations with potential clients, institutional share owners and their agents with the primary focus being to promote cross-border shareholder engagement, particularly in Europe.

In its increased commitment to shareholder engagement, Hermes has also promoted Paul Lee to the new position of shareholder engagement manager, reporting to Melvin. Formerly Lee was employed as a corporate governance analyst within Hermes.

"Hermes is determined to carry out more Focus Fund style engagements on core assets," says Peter Butler, who has overall responsibility for governance and shareholder engagement issues in Hermes.

"Paul’s engagement will cover strategic and business matters, as well as the conventional corporate governance and SRI issues. Colin and Paul's first job is to prepare a business plan so that we can budget for further resources to be committed in 2003", adds Butler. Hermes plans to build its Focus Fund and corporate governance teams to over 40 people.

Both Melvin and Edkins will report to Butler, who has been appointed chairman of the newly established Corporate Governance Board. Joining Butler, Melvin and Edkins on the board are Hermes' chief executive Tony Watson and chief investment officer Nick Mustoe.

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