Activist Investor Bluebell Capital Calls for BlackRock CEO to Step Down Following ESG ‘Hypocrisy’

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2022/05/25: Participant seen holding a sign at the pr
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London-based activist investor Bluebell Capital is calling for BlackRock CEO Larry Fink to step down from the company over the alleged “hypocrisy” of its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) messaging.

Bluebell — which previously targeted companies such as Richemont, a luxury goods company, and Solvay, a chemicals company, and had successfully forced Danone, a food company, to restructure its management — has around $250 million in assets under management and holds a tiny stake in BlackRock compared to its roughly $8 trillion in assets.

Fink is facing the call to step down from the activist investor over alleged “hypocrisy” over being a strong advocate of “stakeholder capitalism” and pushing back about accusations that BlackRock is using its size as the largest manager to push a political agenda in his annual letter to CEOs earlier this year, CNBC explained

As reported by CNBC, in the letter to Fink from Bluebell dated November 10, there was concern about the possible “reputational risk (including greenwashing risk) to which BlackRock under the leadership of Larry Fink have unreasonably exposed the company.”

BlackRock responded to the letter in a statement to CNBC, saying, “In the past 18 months, Bluebell has waged a number of campaigns to promote their climate and governance agenda…BlackRock Investment Stewardship did not support their campaigns as we did not consider them to be in the best economic interests of our clients.”

Bluebell partner and co-founder Giuseppe Bivona told CNBC that based on his company’s engagements with the major asset firm during activist campaigns, they were concerned about “the gap between what BlackRock consistently says on ESG and what they actually do.”

“We see BlackRock endorsing a number of bad practices from a governance, social and environmental perspective, which is not actually in tune with what they say,” Bivona continued, adding:

In our latest activist campaign at Richemont, they have been opposing the increase of board representation for investors owning 90% of the company from one to three. I really don’t think this is in the best interest of the investor, upon which on a fiduciary basis they invest the money, and of course it’s not in the best interest of any shareholder.

Additionally, New York Times’ DealBook explained:

Bluebell accused BlackRock of both hypocrisy and overstepping its bounds in a letter sent to the firm’s board last month that was reviewed by DealBook:

  • On the former, the hedge fund said BlackRock had flip-flopped on whether to invest in companies involved in coal meant for energy production, including the mining giant Glencore, which moved to increase its production of thermal coal this year. Bluebell also said BlackRock declined to join its campaign to stop the Belgian chemical company Solvay from dumping soda ash into the Mediterranean Sea.

  • But Bluebell also said that “it is not BlackRock’s role to direct the public debate on climate and energy policies or to impose ideological beliefs on the corporate world.” The hedge fund said BlackRock’s E.S.G. push had become politicized and a distraction, as several Republican state officials have moved to withdraw funds from BlackRock in protest.

Bivona, not commenting on how much his company is at risk, told the New York Times’ DealBook, “BlackRock has become a source of E.S.G. risk,” and noted that Republicans across the country have started to take aim at BlackRock.

As Bivona alluded to, Republicans across the United States have started to take aim at BlackRock for the ESG policies. Multiple Republican-led states across the U.S. have begun pulling money they have invested out of BlackRock due to its leftist activism in financial investing.

Furthermore, multiple state treasurers attended the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF) conference last month, where many from across the country presented a strategy against ESG policies. The group launched a website and a video explainer, hoping to educate Americans on the dangers of ESG policies.

At the conference, multiple state treasurers explained to Breitbart News that ESG policies hurt each state differently but collectively financially hurt all American taxpayers. Hence, they came together in a joint effort to combat the left-wing policies masquerading as economics.

Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.


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