BlackRock's Dalia Blass, who helped oversee the asset manager's response to key policy issues including a Republican-led backlash to ESG investing, is leaving the firm to become a law partner at Sullivan & Cromwell.
Mark McCombe, a BlackRock vice chairman, will succeed her as interim head of external affairs while the firm searches for a permanent replacement, CEO Larry Fink said Tuesday in a memo to employees. Ms. Blass, who joined New York-based BlackRock in 2021, managed global public policy, social impact, corporate sustainability and academic engagement.
"This global team has strengthened our capabilities in building relationships with a broader set of stakeholders and advocating on behalf of the interests of both the firm and our clients," Mr. Fink said in the memo. "While we will miss Dalia's presence at BlackRock, we understand her desire to return to the practice of law."
Ms. Blass previously worked for more than a decade at the U.S. SEC, where she was director of the division of investment management. She was a member of BlackRock's global executive committee, the firm's top leadership team.
BlackRock, the world's largest money manager, was criticized by Republican lawmakers across the U.S. over the past year for supporting ESG investing. In 2022, at least six states said they would pull more than $3 billion from the firm, and Ms. Blass was among finance industry executives who were grilled by Texas lawmakers in December.
This year, however, pension-fund managers and budget watchdogs in several states have denounced anti-ESG proposals, arguing they would impose steep costs on retirees and taxpayers.
Ms. Blass will be based in Sullivan & Cromwell's Washington office, providing counsel to asset managers and investment funds, the law firm said in an emailed statement.
"I look forward to leveraging my experience from private and public practice to help S&C's clients navigate the growing web of complex regulatory issues they face," she said in the statement.