Impact Investing Institute appoints its first CEO

Former Financial Times journalist Sarah Gordon has been appointed the first CEO of the new Impact Investing Institute.

The new institute, which aims to advance impact investing and to promote the UK as a world leader in this field, was announced in early June. It is due to open for business in the autumn.

Gordon spent 18 years at the Financial Times, most recently as business editor. In a contribution published in March, she reflects on 20 years of covering the City. “One thing that has changed,” she writes, “is my understanding of business – and my understanding of how it should fit into society.”

Highlighting low public trust in corporations today, she continues: “Business needs to do more than change its culture. It must challenge itself on what its purpose really is, not just what its investors want. It must be prepared to tackle the great ills of our time, such as climate change or modern slavery.” 

She also highlights people’s “lack of understanding of financial realities and basic economics” – a factor in the financial crisis, and something she says journalists but also teachers, politicians and CEOs have a responsibility to change. Among the goals of her new employer will be to encourage “ordinary savers” to choose ISAs, pensions and savings products that benefit social or environmental causes.

Prior to the FT, Gordon worked in fund management in the UK and the US, and at the UN Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva. 

She was a panel member of the recent independent inquiry into the future of civil society, led by Julia Unwin CBE, and was formerly a trustee at the volunteering charity CSV (now Volunteering Matters); she is also a visiting professor at Kings College London.

Gordon was appointed by the institute’s chairs, Sir Harvey McGrath, also the chair of Big Society Capital, and Dame Elizabeth Corley, who chaired the government’s Independent Advisory Group on Growing a Culture of Social Impact Investing in the UK.

Photo: London skyline by Robert Bye on Unsplash