The Responsible Investment Association (RIA) has appointed Dustyn Lanz, its chief operating officer (COO), as new CEO effective Jan. 1, 2018. He succeeds current CEO, Deb Abbey, who will retire following a five-year tenure in the role.

Lanz has worked with the RIA since 2013 and has played a central role in growing its membership base and strengthening the RIA’s brand and communications initiatives over the past four years, the association reports in a news release.

“We are very pleased to appoint Dustyn as the next CEO of the RIA,” says Jason Milne, chairman of the RIA’s board of directors and vice president, corporate governance and responsible investment, with RBC Global Asset Management, in a statement. “Dustyn’s industry expertise, market understanding and passion for responsible investment will build on the success that Deb has helped the RIA to achieve. Deb has done an absolutely incredible job of leading this organization since 2013, and we wish her the very best in retirement.”

Abbey will work closely with Lanz until her retirement at the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition. Lanz, in his role of COO, writes a regular column on responsible investment in Investment Executive’s Inside Track section.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dustyn for the past four years and I’m confident that he is the right person for the job,” says Abbey, in a staement. “He has the industry knowledge, leadership skills and dedication to help take the RIA to the next level. Dustyn’s appointment and this transition mark an exciting milestone for the organization.”

“I got into this business to contribute to the growth of responsible investing, which I believe is a powerful tool for catalyzing positive societal change. Now, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to do that from a position of leadership,” adds Lanz in a statement. “Filling the shoes of my great mentor, Deb Abbey, will be no easy task. Deb’s support, and that of my colleagues, has helped me to reach this landmark in my career. I thank them and will work diligently to reward their faith in me.”

In his new role, Lanz is planning on bringing greater focus to responsible investing both in the financial services industry and among investors.

“What I am most excited about are the opportunities that lie ahead for the RIA and responsible investing more broadly,” he notes. “Three-quarters of Canadian investors [surveyed for the 2017 RIA Investor Opinion Survey] are interested in responsible investing but know little or nothing about it. We’re going to change that.”

Prior to joining the RIA, Lanz worked in academia, where he conducted research and made policy recommendations to improve governance of the global financial system. His work has been published in academic journals and think tanks in Canada and internationally. In 2016, he received a Clean50 Emerging Leader Award for his contributions to responsible investing in Canada.

Photo copyright: Responsible Investment Association