Darren Johnson – Forming Habits of Excellence and Change
Darren Johnson

Darren Johnson is Chief Operating Officer in Listed Equities and Executive Director at Impax Asset Management, where he is responsible for Global Operations, including Portfolio Services, Technology, Change/Project Management and Client Onboarding. He previously worked in a series of accounting and operations roles.  Our conversation starts with his upbringing in South London and why he was born with a “silver spoon in his mouth”. We talk about the unlikely role model that emerged for him even at a very young age and how that character sowed the seeds for a career in the corporate world.  We turn then to his education and early career and reflect on the lack of empowerment that young professionals sometimes have and how this can deter engagement and motivation. We examine his career path, and the individuals who made it possible, as well as the choices made throughout that path.  In particular we look at the evolution of the asset management firm of today, and how remote working has changed it as well as the changes yet to come, which may shape the power centers of asset managers.  We also discuss the dramatic impact that ESG integration will have and the effect of regulation in this area. In our reflection section we look at how the investment industry and the practice of “mining for talent” can be compared to football (soccer) and the need to look outside the academy for talent.  We reflect on the importance of making excellence a habit and the wisdom of The Four Agreements, which are: don’t take things personally, don’t make assumptions, always try your best and be impeccable with your word.  Darren was the source for many guests on this podcast series as well as the Diverse Founders and VC series.  He is an active participant on the conference circuit as well as industry affinity groups designed to address low levels of diversity in finance. Series 4 is brought to you with the kind support of Federated Hermes, Inc., a leading global investment manager. Guided by their conviction that responsible investing is the best way to create wealth over the long term, their investment solutions span equity, fixed-income, alternative/private markets, multi-asset and liquidity strategies and a range of separately managed accounts, distributed through intermediaries worldwide.