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BlackRock taps former Obama aide to lead sustainable investing

March 30 (Reuters) - Top asset manager BlackRock Inc on Tuesday will name Paul Bodnar as Global Head of Sustainable Investing, a company spokesman said, bringing in an outsider to develop new products and to integrate environmental, social and governance factors into its investment process.

Bodnar has been chief strategy officer at the Rocky Mountain Institute, a non-profit focused on clean energy, and was previously a senior aide to U.S. President Barack Obama for energy and climate change issues.

Bodnar takes a post recently held by another former Obama aide, Brian Deese, who left to join the new administration of President Joe Biden.

BlackRock has captured the lion’s share of a flood of new money coming into ESG-focused funds. But the money has also increased investor pressure on the company to lean harder on portfolio companies over climate change, workers rights and other ESG matters.

BlackRock and rival Vanguard Group on Monday joined an investor push to limit greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. BlackRock has also said it will publish more details about the climate impact of its holdings, which currently total $8.7 trillion, by year’s end.

Bodnar’s responsibilities will also include sustainable research and analytics, the company said. His work will be distinct from that of Sandy Boss, who oversees the company’s proxy voting as head of stewardship and reports to Chief Executive Larry Fink. Bodnar will report to Vice Chairman Philipp Hildebrand.

Reporting by Ross Kerber; editing by Richard Pullin

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