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Church Commissioners seeks new CEO as Brown signals retirement

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The Church of England’s investment arm is seeking a successor to its chief executive, Andrew Brown, who is retiring at the end of January 2020.

The new CEO will act as secretary to the Church Commissioners, reporting to the First Church Estates Commissioner and the board of governors.

The Church Commissioners manages £8.2bn (€8.8bn) in endowment and pension funds on behalf of the church.

Since Brown, a chartered surveyor, became CEO in 2003, property-related investments – currently 27.4% of the portfolio – have been reduced in order to increase diversification. However, star performers during 2018 included strategic land and timberland.

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In a recent interview, Brown told the Church Times that managing the Commissioners’ investments in a “very uncertain time” due to “huge volatility” in international politics would be a key challenge for his successor.

He also highlighted maintaining the Commissioners’ role as a responsible investor and “the part we play in trying to make a difference in corporate Britain”.

Andrew Brown, Church Commissioners

Andrew Brown, Church Commissioners

The organisation aims to promote responsible and ethical investment policy, practice and engagement with key players, and has been at the forefront of shareholder rebellions against company boards, most recently at the ExxonMobil annual general meeting where they unsuccessfully supported proposals on governance.

It has, however, been successful in demanding better climate change disclosure from other major oil companies.

The new CEO will be responsible for the strategic leadership of a multi-disciplinary team, supporting the Commissioners in the strategic policy and prioritisation of work. 

According to the job description, from executive search consultants Green Park, the new CEO’s financial responsibilities will include working to deliver sustainable financial support over the long term to meet the church’s pension liabilities; deliver oversight of risk appetite and management; and promote responsible and ethical investment policy, practice and engagement with key players.

Full details of the post and how to apply are available here.

Brown has been the Church Commissioners’ CEO since 2003 and was previously chief surveyor. Before that, he was a partner with St Quintin Chartered Surveyors, advising on investment property matters throughout the UK. 

He is a director of the Newcastle-based William Leech Foundation and Investment Company and is a former chair of the CMS (Church Mission Society) Pension Trust.

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