184. Jennifer Grancio of Engine No. 1 – Vision, Patience, Externalities and Increasing Economic Value

Jennifer Grancio is Chief Executive Officer at Engine No. 1,  an investment firm that identifies value creation opportunities in once in a generation systems changes the economy is now going through. She is based in the San Francisco area. She previously founded and ran her own firm advising CEOs and accelerating revenue growth. Prior to that was a Managing Director at Blackrock where she led businesses and global distribution teams for close to 20 years. She is a Board Member   of the MannKind Corporation and Ethic Investments.

Our conversation starts with Jennifer’s upbringing on the East Coast, her pursuit of International Relations at Stanford and how this turned her towards management consulting. We analyze the skillset that that discipline brought to her later move to the investment world. In particular management consulting involves a deep analysis of company business models, supply chains and drivers.  This ability to dissect the drivers of a business would prove to be helpful later when the focus turned to the sustainability of those drivers and ultimately the business.

We move then to Engine No. 1 and its focus and dig in to many complex issues such as the future of ESG, whether the name and umbrella title is still fit for purpose, how different companies are navigating the energy transition and how collaboration and activism can work together to further this.  We also discuss the importance of Board Representation, what it means to have a climate confident or climate competent board and the likely future evolution of this branch of governance.

The discussion on the integration of sustainability targets with sustainable business models is a detailed one, and we turn to whether there is a case for optimism in this area, where the stakes are high and sometimes overwhelming.

Series 2 of 2023 is kindly sponsored by Beach Point Capital Advisors, an investment manager that believes in investment beyond the traditional.  It specializes in credit investments and employs a flexible, value-oriented, risk-controlled focusing on complex and less well-followed opportunities.

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