Hedge fund veterans team with former BlackRock exec to launch impact investing firm

Hedge fund veterans Chris James and Charles Penner are part of the founding team behind new impact investor Engine No 1, which will look to create long-term value by driving positive impact through active ownership and investment in public and private companies through multiple strategies.

Founded by James, Engine No 1 has an executive team with decades of experience investing in, creating, building, and operating businesses. The firm was founded on the shared belief that a company’s ability to create long-term shareholder value depends on the investments it makes in jobs, workers, communities, and the environment.

 
James says: “Far too many companies fail to incorporate externalities into their business strategies. Having built companies from the ground up across multiple industries in transition, we have a first-hand understanding of how a company’s performance and its broader impact are intrinsically linked.
 
“Framing the debate as ‘shareholder capitalism versus stakeholder capitalism’ does both parties a disservice. Over the long-term, shareholder and stakeholder interests align, and companies that invest in their stakeholders are better, stronger companies as a result. Through active ownership, we will seek to leverage our long duration capital and operational expertise to build long-term value by focusing on where we can have positive impact.”
 
The Engine No. 1 founding team includes:
 
Chris James – James is a builder of businesses and an investor in companies focused on creating jobs. Prior to founding Engine No 1, James founded and built asset heavy companies in industries in transition located in Illinois, Louisiana, and Texas. He has also been an investor in the technology sector for nearly three decades, including as the founder of Partner Fund Management and co-founder of Andor Capital Management.
 
Charlie Penner – Penner focuses on enhancing value within companies through active shareholder engagement. Prior to Engine No 1, he was a Partner at JANA Partners LLC, where he most recently led the firm's impact investing effort.
 
Jennifer Grancio – Grancio has over 20 years of financial services industry experience growing big businesses to solve even bigger problems. She is well recognised as a global leader in exchange-traded and mutual funds, having previously served as a founder and senior executive within BlackRock's iShares business. She is on the board of Ethic, a fintech company focused on sustainable investment.
 
Madeline Hawes – Hawes is a strategist focused on redefining impact across financial services and technology. She has advised on early-stage technologies at Google X and Earnin, an Andreessen Horowitz portfolio company. She was previously an investment analyst within Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
 
Michael O’Leary – O’Leary has worked in the movement of helping companies focus on their social and environmental impacts to drive value. Previously, he was a founding member of Bain Capital Double Impact and an investor with Bain Capital’s private equity funds. He is the author of ‘Accountable: The Rise of Citizen Capitalism.’
 
Ed Sun – Sun is a process-driven investor who has focused on finding significant trends across industries. He has over 20 years of investment experience, most recently as a Partner and Portfolio Manager at Partner Fund Management, and earlier in his career as co-founder of BlackShip Capital Management and a Partner at Andor Capital Management.
 
David Swift – Swift has executed business development, strategic planning, and fundraising initiatives across a wide variety of investment strategies, including at Partner Fund Management where he was responsible for new business initiatives globally.