Cynthia L. Richson wants to carry on the legacy of the Investor Responsibility Research Center but for the next few years at least, her hands are tied.
Ms. Richson, who was corporate governance officer of the $69 billion Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, Columbus, was named president and chief executive officer of the new IRRC Institute for Corporate Responsibility, Washington. She is the first executive leader of the institute, which was created from proceeds of the last year's sale of the Investor Responsibility Research Center to Institutional Shareholder Services, Washington.
"We're still defining our business plan," including funding to sustain the center's activities, said Ms. Richson, who was appointed in September. "But we hope to carry on the legacy of IRRC for independent, high-quality, data-driven research in corporate governance."
Because a non-compete clause with ISS precludes the institute for six years from doing company-specific research, proxy-voting recommendations and corporate governance ratings, the institute will concentrate on environmental, social and governance issue research, she said. The institute's first project will be a survey on investors' priorities in these areas, she said. GovernanceMetrics International Inc., New York, is assisting with the project.
Ms. Richson said she took the position because the opportunity to help build the new institute was entrepreneurial, and she'd be able to continue to work with institutional investors and use her knowledge and experience in corporate governance.