BlackRock names Leigh Farris its global head of corporate communications

(Reuters) – BlackRock on Thursday named Leigh Farris its global head of corporate communications, bolstering its ranks at a time when the asset management giant faces intense heat for its stance on socially and environmentally conscious capitalism.

Farris, who has held a similar role at buyout giant Carlyle since 2019, will join BlackRock in March, succeeding Jim Badenhausen.

She has also held senior communications roles at Goldman Sachs, General Electric and CBS News, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.

For years, the world’s largest asset manager has parried attacks from U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle. Republicans accuse it of politicizing investments by prioritizing environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, while Democrats say it is not doing enough to curb climate change.

BlackRock has pushed back against the allegations. Last year, CEO Larry Fink said he had stopped using the term ESG because it had become “weaponized”, and that the company would not backpedal.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Pooja Desai)