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Mark Thompson leaves London CIV as investment chief

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Mark Thompson has resigned from his role as chief investment officer of London CIV after only a few weeks in the job for personal and family reasons, according to an announcement from the asset pooling company.

He joined London CIV – which aims to pool £38bn (€43bn) of local authority pension assets – at the beginning of the month but had decided he could not commit to the demands of the role, the pension investor said in a statement.

Thompson said: “I have concluded, after further personal reflection, that I am not ready for a return to a full-time and demanding role and that I cannot therefore commit fully to the London CIV.

“I currently intend to follow a path away from a full-time executive role to spend more time with my family.”

He added that his decision was “in no way […] a reflection of London CIV and its objectives”.

Thompson said: “In my short time at the London CIV I have been impressed by the talented and hard-working individuals, who share a common goal of meeting the company’s objectives for its clients. I wish them all well in this important and valuable endeavour.”

Thompson’s departure from the London CIV is a setback for the pool, which lost key staff members last year and faced problems in aligning with the varying aims of the 32 London local government pension funds that are its shareholders and clients. It has recently made major changes to its governance structure and begun exploring new asset classes such as infrastructure.

Thompson, the former investment chief for HSBC’s €30bn UK pension scheme, was supposed to be a long-term permanent CIO for the pool. Michael Pratten acted as interim CIO for a few months earlier this year, the London CIV’s first chief investment officer since Julian Pendock left the company in January 2018. Pendock’s departure followed the resignation of Hugh Grover in November 2017 as the then chief executive.

Mike O’Donnell was named as the London asset pool’s permanent CEO in January this year, taking over from Mark Hyde-Harrison, who had been carrying out the role on an interim basis since Grover’s resignation.

O’Donnell said he was sad that Thompson had decided to resign but understood his reasons for doing so.

The board was “focusing on future resourcing on both an interim and permanent basis and will be particularly keen to recruit somebody to lead on ESG work in advance of a new permanent CIO appointment”, he said. 

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