Didier Millerot is to become the next head of sustainable finance at the European Commission. He will replace Martin Spolc, who has been one of the key architects of Europe’s sustainable finance agenda.

Millerot has headed the Commission’s insurance and pensions unit for the more than five years. Before that, he was head of banking and conglomerates, and also spent three years in charge of accounting and financial reporting.

Spolc spearheaded the Commission’s Action Plan on Sustainable Finance, initially in his role as head of the Capital Markets Union unit.

As that agenda became bigger, he became the founding head of the EU’s dedicated sustainable finance department. Before that, he was deputy head of the banking unit at the Commission.

Spolc’s team drove the development of flagship laws like the EU green taxonomy, labels for climate benchmarks and the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation for investment funds.

Over recent years, Spolc has developed a reputation for resisting pressure from industry and colleagues to scale back the ambitions of Europe’s sustainable finance agenda.

There have been talks circulating in Brussels that the sustainable finance unit may be disbanded, with outstanding files assigned to other relevant units.

Instead, Spolc will move to become the head of the EU’s digital finance unit under the next Commission, which is to be appointed on the back of the European elections that took place earlier this month; and Millerot will take over as the head of sustainable finance.

Tilman Lueder, currrently the head of securities markets at the EC, and previously head of asset management, is now the new IORP unit head, replacing Millerot as head of insurance and pensions.

The next Commission is expected to rein in its sustainable finance activities after a swing to the right in the recent elections, and widespread frustration in the private sector about the quantity and stringency of ESG-related regulation.

EU rulemakers are instead emphasising the need for Europe to strengthen the competitiveness of its capital markets on the international stage, which is expected to result in a stronger focus on deregulation over coming years.

There is also a growing focus on the just transition and the role of retail investment and pension savings in achieving sustainability objectives.

IPE understands that Dan Dionisie and Ralf Sauer – the head and deputy head of DG Just, the unit responsible for overseeing the roll-out of the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, will remain in place under the next Commission.

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