LETT-SCO: John Scofield & Lettuce Collaborate for 4 Mystical Nights at SFJazz [Review/Videos]

first_imgNigel Hall emerged from the shadows behind a castle of keyboards and the frontmen to unveil a spine-tingling take on Donny Hathaway’s “I Love You More than You’ll Ever Know”, an emotional cut found on the late singer’s 1973 LP Extensions of a Man. It is an absolute wonder to behold Nigel inhabiting a tortured R&B genius, embodying the inflections and mannerisms of Hathaway. Even Scofield himself was visibly taken aback by the conviction emanating from Hall’s stirring performance.Over the course of four shows, Lettuce frequently ran the gamut in styles and eras. Friday’s show screamed down the home stretch with a pair of tunes that exemplify where they’ve been, where they are, and where they’re heading. Beginning with the unreleased masterpiece that is “4th Dimension”, a primordial pillaging of DJ Premier’s record crates that will appear on Lettuce’s forthcoming LP (due this summer). Benny Bloom pushed the envelope towards trippy fabrics, playing way up and way out with assertive phrasings while Scofield laced up the LETT with his patented reverberating tone(s) and scintillating six-string statements. “4th Dimension” made the heads nod like emergency brakes, spilling into the bubonic “Kron Dutch”, which saw Nigel get loose on Fender Rhodes as the whole squad continued to revel in an authentic hip-hop essence. A rollicking “Lettsanity” (from 2012’s FLY) concluded the main set on Friday before all seven men returned for another “Ladies Night” encore.Lettuce – “TRAP” – 3/23/19[Video: Iain Hainsworth]For their third performance at SFJazz, to a swollen, sold-out audience, Lettuce opened with the cataclysmic “Trapezoid”, yet another unreleased song from the long-awaited LP due later this year. Legitimately a search for new land, this song definitively drew a line in the sand between the staid and stoic in the SFJazz audience who were drawn in by Scofield and the wide-eared funkateers that mob and march to the LETT madness. The former sat in the mezzanine and balcony, quizzically scratching their heads at this ATL-centric, 808 soundscape, while the latter lost their proverbial minds and inhibitions on the GA dancefloor, bobbing and weaving while the band played a “Trapezoid” that leaned away from its usual promethazine trip and decidedly toward a dreamy DMT excursion. By the time they landed this spaceship on the SFJazz stage after an eleven-minute “Trapezoid”, Lettuce had effectively converted the rest of the room. “Ready to Live” was what could be considered a hard left—about as bipolar a song pairing as possible. This delivered more heaping slabs of R&B swagger, with Nigel Hall’s vocals and Rhodes at the forefront of the rendition.Scofield sauntered onstage for a Saturday night special and reveled in a throwback rare-groove steez on “Kool”, culled from his 1995 LP Groove Elation. While Sco unleashed one searing solo phrasing after the next, Jesus Coomes awash in sturdy low-end rumble, Deitch continued to inhabit Idris and steer this ship deep into the funky pockets. “Kool” was a tremendous collective effort, especially juxtaposed with the esoteric, haunting “Deadzy” that immediately followed. From 1997’s A Go-Go collab with MMW, “Deadzy” saw the spookier elements of jam and jazz dance a cryptic waltz. The pair of Sco tunes took LETT out of their comfort zone, and the band responded with a couple of superb readings. This particular night saw some of the most furious styles from drummer Adam Deitch that this writer has ever witnessed—On Saturday night, the man was- quite simply possessed.“Pep n Step”, a Lettuce outtake from 2012’s FLY sessions, was an intentional homage to funk forefathers The Meters. LETT-SCO continued interpolating a NOLA sound—on this San Francisco night they were the best in town—and people began sauntering down the aisles, a bevy of natives getting restless. The live squad concluded the main set strong with a tight “NYACK”, found on Outta Here. A one-two punch of Lettuce’s (re-imagined) “Do It Like You Do” and James Brown’s timeless burner “Funky Drummer”, both fronted by the enigmatic Hall, sent the capacity crowd first into a dithers and then into the night, completely invigorated and brimming with joy.John Scofield with Lettuce – “NYACK” – 3/23/19[Video: Iain Hainsworth]Predictably, the final night would be the finest; like the saying goes: “never miss a Sunday show.” Warming things up with the safest call of all the openers, “Get Greazy” (Crush) showcased the sextet’s command of tight funk grooves and a humongous pocket, while Ryan Zoidis fired up the KORG synth rig and took off to sunbathe on the rings of Saturn. The band’s sound was vibrant, the sonics lush and alive thanks to Lettuce FOH engineer Hunter Gifford. Lighting director Daniel Hiudt was also on point, bringing in some additional lights to create extra-terrestrial visual atmospherics that enhanced the musical experience.The magnum opus “Gang Ten” was next, always a roaring, roller-coaster psychedelic thunderclap. Harmonious layers and composed sections gave way to a true type II improvisational journey that again transitioned into lusty quiet-storm R&B and lysergic voodoo texture  lead by adventurous bass work from Coomes and mind-bending psychedelia from Smirnoff, Bloom and Zoidis. The outro section of “Gang Ten” was new to these ears and was, sure enough, a certified stomper. LETT guitarist Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff was locked and loaded with merciless riffage. Bloom’s omnipresent Air Jordans hopped around the stage, the new guy egging on Nigel, Deitch, Zoid and Jesus, each of whom answered the call with a ten-ton sledgehammer. This writer is willing to bet this “Gang Ten” outro manifests into a stand-alone song within a year.I did not envy Scofield having to take the stage after that opening segment, but damn if the legend didn’t step into the moment like maybe only he can. Instead of trying to keep things turnt, he commandeered the spaceship and immediately slowed our roll. This was achieved with a steamy hollow-body jazz guitar clinic on “What You See is What You Get” (originally by The Dramatics), found on Up All Night. From there, Sco dove headfirst into the weekend’s second (and finer) take on the iridescent “Jungle Fiction”, an even more hot-blooded reading than Friday’s blistering version. More canned Scofield jokes about Lettuce being little kids in ‘84 preceded another “Pick Hits” before Deitch and company waded into the ether of the new intro to their behemoth banger, “Blast Off”.This Rage classic saw Sco deal himself all the way in for perhaps the first time all weekend. Instead of hanging back and waiting to solo, he jumped onboard the LETT improvisational mothership with nary a f*ck given. The cosmic funk space-boogie was nothing short of otherworldly. Nigel got busy on the ARP synth, Sco pushed Zoid to play out, and Zoid shoved him back in a glorious upping of the ante. Scofield then preceded to show the teeming SFJazz massive, which had been whipped into a “Blast Off” frenzy, exactly what time it was—and why his name was on the marquee.A juicy, melodic guitar solo gave way to Deitch and Jesus ever-so-assertively pushing Latin rhythms for a hot minute. Wait… what’s that… “On the Corner”? In an instant, LETT-SCO began a white-hot run through one of Miles Davis’ most controversial (and misunderstood) artistic statements. Deitch was steady bringing the thump, but it sounded—at least to this writer—like it was Bloom at the wheel. In an instant-classic hand-off, the LETT-SCO crew launched a lightning-speed segue into a quickie fireball reading of “On the Corner” complete with a JB’s drunken monkey breakdown and STAX-styled climax. In a word, ridiculous…As LETT showered SFJazz in a healthy swig of Witches Stew, Sco turned the tables on everybody, uncorking screaming Jimi Hendrix quotes in a harrowing, electrifying tone. Undeniable phrases from “Purple Haze” and “Hey Joe”, revealed without warning, left jaws agape from the front rows to the rafters. This all-time rendition of “Blast Off” gave way to Davis’ celebrated “Black Satin”, which segued perfectly into the rambunctious rare groove of “Pocket Change, the only Lettuce repeat throughout the four nights. Lettuce guitarist Adam Smirnoff had a few choice words before embarking on a special composition that most in the audience would be hearing for the first time, despite the fact that they had been teasing and hinting at it all weekend long. “Moksha” is another unreleased monster from the forthcoming Lettuce album sessions (though word it is that it won’t be on whatever drops first over the summer), and it finds Shmeeans channeling Ravi Shankar and John McLaughlin in a mystifying ballet. On this special, final night, deep into the collaboration, we observed Scofield really listening to Smirnoff, and then playing with him, dueling in a Far Eastern-dipped dalliance that is forever embedded in the hearts and minds of all at SFJazz who were blessed to take it in.In the most serendipitous fashion, LETT-SCO returned to the stage with beaming smiles and the highest of vibes and lept into Curtis Mayfield’s timeless “Move On Up”, an emotional number that Lettuce has sometimes made their own dating back to the halcyon days of Bear Creek. Nigel Hall was the game winner, again. Beyond stirring up the congregation with the usual “Move On Up” vocals, he also asked for a breakdown, and the band gave him the solo moment. Hovering over minimalist Rhodes voicings while the entire SFJazz room held onto his every note and word, Nigel Hall dug as deep as ever… coming up for air somewhere between Teddy Pendergrass and the aforementioned Mayfield to unveil a stirring string of stanzas that made many well up with tears of joy and pain. As much as each of these men are virtuoso in their own rights, what Nigel can do, say, and convey with his voice is truly transformational, both for his band and their audience. A phenomenal, emotional cut to close out four stupendous evenings at SFJazz for John Scofield with Lettuce.As they all took a hard-earned band bow and left the stage for the final time, bassist Coomes lagged behind. The erstwhile philosopher got on the mic to poignantly ask all who had come together to hear this mystical muse spring to life to please do their part in working towards “our better future.” Yes indeed, words to live by… and thank you Jesus.Words- B.GetzFor a list of Lettuce’s upcoming tour dates, hit the band’s website here.Setlists: John Scofield with Lettuce | SFJazz | San Francisco, CA | 3/21–24/19Thursday 3.21– Larimar, Purple Cabbage, (Scofield enters) Polo Towers, Filibuster, Ideofunk, Pocket Change, Back in Effect, Last Suppit. E: Ladies NightFriday 3.22– Trillogy > Phyllis = TRYLLIS, (Scofield enters) Pick Hits, I Just Don’t Wanna Be Lonely, Jungle Fiction, I Love You (Donny Hathaway cover), 4th Dimension, Kron Dutch, Lettsanity. E: Ladies NightSaturday 3.23– Trapezoid, Ready to Live, (Scofield enters) KOOL, Filibuster, Deadzy > Flu the Coop, Pep n Step, Nyack. E: Do it Like You Do > Funky DrummerSunday 3.24 – Get Greazy, Gang Ten, (Scofield enters) What You See is What You Get, Jungle Fiction, Pick Hits, Blast Off > Black Satin > Pocket Change, Moksha. E: Move On Up Renowned guitarist John Scofield has steadily co-created with cats across younger generations, beginning with 1997’s Medeski, Martin & Wood collab A Go Go, and onward with his own Bump in ’99. Throughout it all, the veteran player has interpreted as much from younger collaborators as they have from him. Akin to how his former mentor Miles Davis did three decades earlier in the embryonic fusion era, Sco plugged in with the next generation to truly unlock new portals of jazz and funk.The fruits of said ambitious adventures are found on the seminal Uberjam, Up All Night (live record with the Uberjam band), and a decade-plus later, Uberjam Deux. Each of these landmark releases featured drummer Adam Deitch (Lettuce) as a co-pilot, and it was both his and guitarist/sampler Avi Bortnick‘s contributions to the Uberjam elixir that pushed the art into the avant-garde in the diametrically different jazz and jam circles. This trifecta of LPs has kept Sco vibrant in this particular section of culture, and no doubt always relevant to the current purveyors of jazz and fans of the jam.Among the young guns that mine inspiration from John Scofield’s funkier plates found on his Gramavision releases of the 1980’s, future funk-hop cosmonauts Lettuce are the creme de la creme. Deitch and his Lettuce brethren are a quarter-century-deep, a laser-sharp unit that trades in the finest of psychedelic funk and golden-era hip-hop grooves. Godfather-like workouts with JB’s-level precision, complete with elements of D.C. Go-Go, Gospel, quiet storm R&B, classic soul, all juxtaposed with fearless improvisation, sonic explorations without a net.Sco and Deitch have a shared history beyond just Uberjam, as the venerable guitarist is featured on two tracks from Lettuce’s 2002 debut LP, Outta Here. Scofield has also appeared onstage with them at Red Rocks and Brooklyn Bowl in recent years. Word is, Scofield has contributed to as many as four tracks on Adam Deitch Quartet’s forthcoming debut LP, Egyptian Secrets. This kinetic relationship was at the crux of a four-night engagement at the esteemed SFJazz from Thursday, March 21st through Sunday, March 24th and billed as John Scofield with Lettuce.Lettuce is at the tail end of their wildly-successful VIBE UP Winter Tour 2019, and the band shared the stage with Scofield in Los Angeles. The seven-piece affectionately dubbed LETT-SCO descended on the Bay Area for six collective hours of intergalactic, inter-generational escapades. Each night in SF began at an early hour (7:30 p.m, 7 p.m. on Sunday) and lasted roughly ninety minutes. The ensemble wasted nary a moment of this time, each selection thoughtfully planned and executed. While it was clear that Scofield was the star of the shows, more often than not the finest slabs of sound were a decidedly collective effort.From night to night, the four shows (for the most part) stayed structurally the same, yet the setlists were varied, as were the fiery performances. Lettuce took the stage first each evening sans Sco, and without fail launched into the ambitious compositions that most define this band in 2019. On Thursday, they began with a searing “Larimar” and it’s Miles-drenched Dominican funk lead by the steamy fatback brass of Eric Benny Bloom (trumpet) and a lusty rhythmic undercurrent from drummer Deitch and bassist E.D. “Jesus” Coomes. After a somewhat demonic intro, the squad dove thirty thousand leagues deep with another unreleased anthem dubbed “Purple Cabbage”, itself dripping in Dilla-like tones and multi-hued mass appeal. SFJazz was a funkalicious five-alarm fire before the legendary Scofield even took the stage.Scofield chose “Polo Towers”, Deitch’s favorite Uberjam track, to first uncork his patented dissonant chordal mysticism, as saxophonist Ryan Zoidis answered Sco with some bright Sonny Stitt-style steez of his own. 1984’s “Filibuster” was played twice over the course of four shows. Along with providing the rare-glimpse of Coomes slapping the bass, the cut also saw Jesus square off with Sco for a friendly axe duel. Each member of Lettuce shares their own special relationship with Sco, and the onstage respect and chemistry betwixt them all made for glorious roller-coaster rides through both of their respective songbooks.John Scofield with Lettuce – “Pocket Change” – 3/21/19[Video: Jeff Thorpe]Thursday’s “Ideofunk” took the vibe to New Orleans a smidgen, the beloved Uberjam number performed only once over the weekend, but to great success. Nigel Hall, clad in a Philadelphia International Records t-shirt, proudly transmitted the Gamble & Huff stuff, while Deitch was comfortable pushing a Crescent City blues along the banks of the Bay. “Pocket Change”, Lettuce’s throwback to Rudy Van Gelder’s Blue Note rare groove era from 2015’s Crush, was unadulterated breakbeat porn. “Pocket Change” saw Ryan Zoidis get his Grover on and take off on tenor, while Deitch invoked the late, great Idris Muhammed. Sco did his damndest to stoke Zoid’s flame with electrifying guitar phrasings; the pair had a conversation that won’t be soon forgotten.“Back in Effect”, one of two Outta Here (2002) tracks that feature Scofield, was uncorked like a stutter-step funk bomb, followed by the frenetic Rage (2008) fury of “Last Suppit”. Both of these numbers saw Lettuce’s own phenomenal guitarist Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff lock in on the tastiest rhythm parts, setting the proverbial table for Sco to continually go yard with bombastic displays of guitar mastery. All weekend, Shmeeans’ humble servitude was yet another selfless display of LETT reverence for the living legend with whom they shared the stage.The encore on the first two shows was “Every Night is Ladies Night” from Scofield’s Up All Night live record. Thursday night’s encore saw Shmeeans shine on the chicken-scratch riddims, while the Friday  “Ladies Night” featured some East Atlanta-style trap beats from the funky drummer.On the second night at SFJazz, Lettuce chose to open with two of their hallmark compositions of the past five years, “Trillogy” and “Phyllis”, both found on Crush and affectionately mashed into “TRYLLIS”. “Trillogy” borrowed from Dr. Dre and mined the dub-tropic wells of King Tubby before soaring into “Phyllis”, Lettuce once again dancing with the ghost of J Dilla. All of the current elements of LETT magic were on display within this double dose, once again showing that this band can go zero-to-one hundred real quick.With Sco again in tow, the seven-piece hit their Friday night stride on “I Just Don’t Wanna Be Lonely” found on Up All Night, a cover of The Main Ingredient’s 1974 hit. Lettuce and Scofield revealed the original’s gut-bucket funk, but Deitch reimagined things with inventive beats that gave the song a decidedly different flavor. Same could be said for the (then) futuristic “Jungle Fiction”, an Uberjam classic that marries the progressive ideas of funk fusion with the space-invader riddims of the Bristol, UK 1990’s—think pioneering producer-kings Squarepusher and LTJ Bukem flipping Return to Forever into jungle-room jump-up bangers. The flowering of two generations of jamtronica was eloquently revealed, as Deitch surgically enhanced the “Amen” break with controlled fury, toggling to half-time head-nodders whilst pushing Sco to stretch and bend but never overstep.  The new wrinkle in both versions of “Jungle Fiction” (played Friday and Sunday) was obviously LETT’s Shady Horns, as Zoidis and Bloom found just the right spaces to slip into and sizzle with their tectonic brew.last_img read more

Don’t pause DEI

first_img 175SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Angela Russell Angela Russell is the VP, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at CUNA Mutual Group, the leading provider of insurance and financial services to credit unions and their members. In this role, … Web: https://www.cunamutual.com Details Credit unions are more vital now than ever before. They are on the front lines, serving as a sheltering tree and a safe haven for the financial health and well-being of their members and their communities.As part of this industry, you remind your members they are not alone during this pandemic. You are showing up and demonstrating the credit union difference every day.These essential habits and values are quite literally built into the fabric of our cooperative upbringing – people helping people, empathy, member service, and authentic community engagement.But as an industry, we know we must bring another value to the forefront if we are to truly serve all of our members. Last fall, with the urging and leadership of Maurice Smith, CUNA established diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as an important part of our cooperative principles for credit unions across the United States.I am proud of the work I see across the country to bring DEI to the forefront in our day-to-day work. It is a journey, but one I know we are on together.Not a “Nice to Have”Now, during a global pandemic and economic uncertainty for many, we are all prioritizing – taking stock of what members need from us now.And it may be tempting to let these newer DEI efforts fall by the wayside, to reassure ourselves that we’ll return to developing this work when our current crisis has improved, when we have more time and attention to devote.But I would argue that now is exactly when we need to fully lean into our DEI efforts.Lines of inequity don’t disappear during a crisis. Instead, they are amplified.COVID-19 is no exception. It’s impacting various groups differently, highlighting economic and health disparities. DEI isn’t nice to have during times like this one; it’s crucial.Across the nation we are already seeing the following:More men dying of coronavirusRacial biases in coronavirus testing.Communities of color being hit particularly hard with COVID-19 because of existing health and economic disparitiesCalls regarding domestic violence are increasingIf we aren’t moving our DEI efforts forward in the face of these disparities, then, when will we?Understanding differences among and between your members will be even more important during this time.  Knowing that COVID-19 is impacting populations differently will help you to continue to provide exceptional member service.Here are some things you can do to continue to practice your DEI skills during this time:Tell your story and listen to your member stories – There is a great quote that says, “stories help me see no stranger.” To help us connect across differences, there must be a space and time to share your stories. Questions to consider here include: Is there space for your workforce to share their stories with each other?  What is the space that you are creating for your members to share their stories regarding the impact of coronavirus on them, their families and their communities? At CUNA Mutual Group, we are staying in close contact with employees and customers, listening to their needs, and sharing stories of how our employees stay connected during this time.Understand and embrace difference – Diversity is a beautiful aspect of humanity, but often we fear what we don’t know. Continue your path toward understanding and embracing difference. Take time to learn how coronavirus is impacting populations differently. Those impacts are being reported on widely, and a quick online news search is a great place to start.Ask the equity question – The equity question is, “Who is benefiting and who is burdened?” The decisions we make now will have amplified impact on various communities. When making a decision, take time to pause and ask who is benefiting and who is being burdened by this particular decision.Reach out – There are several organizations and individuals within the credit union movement that have and offer a wealth of knowledge, experience and wisdom regarding DEI. Reach out and ask for help.Moving Forward Together In this very scary time, it is good to know we have each other.  We are an industry that works together to help more people. We are all in this together – and by leaning into all the values we share, we will make it through together and come out stronger.During this time, make sure to keep asking yourself:How are you continuing to serve as a sheltering tree and safe haven for your members during this time?What are you doing to continue to understand and embrace difference?How is coronavirus impacting your members and the communities where you are located?How are you telling your story, and what are you learning from your members’ stories?At CUNA Mutual Group, we are focused on supporting our workforce, customers and our communities during this time, leading with our value of inclusion. I am grateful to be with you on this journey.last_img read more

People moves: GSK appoints UK pensions chief; LSR names new CEO [updated]

first_imgLSR – Iceland’s Pension Fund for State Employees (LSR) has appointed Harpa Jónsdóttir as its new chief executive. She replaces Haukur Hafsteinsson , who announced his retirement in March, after working for the ISK826bn (€6bn) pension fund – Iceland’s largest – for 37 years. Jónsdóttir previously worked as director of the financial stability division at the Central Bank of Iceland. Columbia Threadneedle Investments – Mark Burgess , CIO for the EMEA region and deputy global CIO at Columbia Threadneedle, is to leave the asset manager to take a career break after nine years at the firm. He will depart the firm on 27 September.William Davies , currently the group’s global head of equities, will take on Burgess’ EMEA role, the company said. He joined Columbia Threadneedle in 1994 when it was founded, initially as a European equities portfolio manager. He became head of European equities in 1999 and of the global equities team in 2011. He has been global head of equities since 2017, overseeing all the company’s equity teams.Burgess said: “In this ‘age of longevity’, I am looking forward to taking a break to spend time with my family, pursue some of my other interests and consider the next phase.“The ability to hand over the mantle to William Davies, an exceptional investor and people leader, has made the decision easier and I look forward to seeing the continued growth and success of the EMEA investment team under William’s leadership.” Willis Towers Watson – The consultancy has named Rash Bhabra as head of its retirement business in Great Britain. Bhabra has been with Willis Towers Watson for more than 20 years, in roles such as head of the financial services group and head of corporate consulting, and is replacing Peter Rowles , who will be retiring at the end of 2019.Rowles has spent the past five years as head of retirement for Great Britain, and will have worked at the consultancy for 32 years in total.Gresham House – The UK-based asset manager has hired Richard Staveley from Majedie Asset Management as a managing director in its strategic public equity team.Tony Dalwood, Gresham House CEO, said Staveley’s appointment would help the company’s push into offering listed equity products and strategies, following the launch of a joint venture with Aberdeen Standard Investments in March.Before joining Majedie, where he was responsible for small caps, Staveley was a founding partner of River and Mercantile Asset Management. He has also served as head of UK small companies at Société Générale Asset Management.Law Debenture – The listed professional services firm has appointed Keith Scott as a trustee director. He joins from BMO Global Asset Management where he was a client director, managing pension funds and focusing on liability-driven investments, credit, and ESG.Scott was previously at IBM, where he spent 17 years in various pension roles – latterly European pensions director.AXA Investment Managers – Simon Baxter has been appointed to the French asset manager’s “buy and maintain” fixed income team as a portfolio manager, based in London. The buy and maintain team focuses on global credit and “cashflow delivery” investment strategies and manages £305bn.Baxter has previously worked at Morgan Stanley Investment Managers and BlackRock, in both cases managing global credit investments. Aon – The consultancy giant has appointed Stephen Purves as a partner in its risk settlement team. He was previously head of core business at UK-based insurer Aviva , responsible for four teams and leading on several bulk annuity transactions. He has also worked at Mercer and Higham Group.Aon has advised on a number of major bulk annuity deals this year and has predicted that total transactions for 2019 could hit £40bn by the end of the year. Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) – Julia Beinker has joined the €36.8bn asset manager as a managing director to support its growing distribution activities in Europe. She will initially focus on Austria and Germany, the company said. ICG’s assets under management in Austria and Germany have grown by 6% in the last two years, it added.Beinker was previously at Muzinich & Co where she was also responsible for distribution in Austria and Germany. She has also worked for Deutsche Bank.Smart Pension – UK-based Smart Pension has appointed Mark Howard as its general counsel for pensions and financial services. He joins from law firm Clyde & Co where he worked for 14 years, latterly as head of pensions.Smart runs a UK defined contribution, multi-employer master trust. The trust received authorisation from the Pensions Regulator this week.Cairn Capital – The $4.5bn (€4.1bn) credit investment specialist has named Nicholas Chalmers as its new CEO, succeeding founding CEO Paul Campbell .Campbell co-founded Cairn Capital in 2004. He will continue to serve the firm as a senior adviser and a member of its investment and capital allocation committees, the company said in a statement.Chalmers was previously CEO and president of boutique investment house Oceanwood Capital Management . His appointment is subject to regulatory approval. XPS Pensions Group – The UK consultancy firm has named Ben Gold as head of investment, taking over from Patrick McCoy who has become head of advisory for the company’s pensions and investment businesses.In a statement, McCoy said his new role was aimed at ensuring XPS produced “well thought through, joined-up advice across all our advisory service lines, which helps clients meet their long term goals”.Gold joined XPS nearly five years ago as head of investment for its Leeds office, and was previously an investment consultant at KPMG.Svensk Försäkring  – Louise Sander has been appointed as the new chair of the industry organisation for Swedish insurance companies Svensk Försäkring. She is the chief executive of Handelsbanken Liv , the life arm of the Swedish banking conglomerate. and has been a member of the supervisory board of Svensk Försäkring since 2013. The insurance body said she took up the role on 1 September. Achmea – Achmea Pensioen & Levensverzekeringen has appointed Robert Otto and Michel Lamie as members of the division’s statutory board as of 1 September. They replaced Frans van der Ent and Martin Heuvelmans, division chairman and financial director, respectively, who are to continue in their roles.Achmea said the moves were part of organisational and governance changes, designed to create closer links between the market-focused chains and to simplify the organisation’s management.AFM – Dutch regulator Autoriteit Financiële Markten has named Rob Langezaal as member of its supervisory board (RvT) as of 1 September.From 2007 to 2015, Langezaal was a member of the executive board of SNS Retail Bank. He worked as chief client officer at Volksbank between 2015 and 2018. Prior to this, he had several positions at telecoms firm KPN during a 25-year spell, including general director of KPN Retail. His appointment is for a 4-year period.The AFM’s RvT is now complete and also comprises Martin van Rijn – a former CEO at the €211bn asset manager and pensions provider PGGM – Willemijn van Dolen, Wendy de Jong and David Voetelink.The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) – Caroline Rookes , former chief executive of the Money Advice Service , has been appointed interim chair of TPO, the body responsible for resolving complaints relating to pension funds and retirement savings.Prior to the Money Advice Service Rookes was director of private pensions at the Department for Work and Pensions. She is also an experienced pension trustee and from 2015 to 2019 was a non-executive trustee at NEST.Northern Trust – The financial services giant has hired Rob Dixon from State Street to join its London-based transition management team, which covers Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Northern Trust has also appointed Mat Cook – also from State Street – to establish a dedicated transition management team in Sydney, Australia.SYZ Asset Management – Adrien Pichoud , chief economist, has taken on the role of head of total return strategies, leading a new team. Under the new structure Maurice Harari will oversee equity allocation with the support of the global equity team for security selection, credit selection will be performed by the credit team led by Antonio Ruggeri , and Christophe Buttigieg will oversee the emerging market debt exposure.Morningstar – Libby Bernick will join Morningstar as its head of sustainability effective 9 September. She was most recently at Trucost , an ESG analytics firm that is now part of S&P Global, where she was most latterly managing director and global heaad of Trucost corporate business. She replaces Steven Smit , who recently left Morningstar. Her role at the fund analysis firm will be to lead its cross-functional ESG research team. PIMCO – Nick Granger has been hired from Man Group as managing director and portfolio manager for quantitative analytics. The fixed income manager said he would lead its quantitative team from the company’s base in Newport Beach, California, working with its more than 255 portfolio managers. He will take up his role in the first quarter of next year.At UK-listed hedge fund Man Group, Granger was chief investment officer for the Man AHL unit as well as a member of the group’s executive committee. He joined Man AHL in 2008, having previously been an equity derivatives strategist at JP Morgan. GlaxoSmithKline, LSR, Columbia Threadneedle, Gresham House, Law Debenture, AXA IM, Aon, ICG, Smart Pension, Cairn Capital, XPS, Svensk Försäkring, Achmea, AFM, Pensions Ombudsman, Northern Trust, SYZ AM, Morningstar, PIMCOGlaxoSmithKline – The pharmaceuticals giant has appointed James Chemirmir as UK pensions director, responsible for overseeing GSK’s £12.6bn (€13.9bn) pension arrangements. He replaces Dan McDonald.Chemirmir was previously an actuarial manager at audit and consultancy group EY , according to his LinkedIn page. He took up his role at GSK on 2 September.last_img read more