AIA hires Karen Lee to lead ESG partnerships and advocacy

Lee joins AIA from rival insurer MSIG Asia, where she led the sustainability function.

Karen Lee, Head of Partnerships & Advocacy, Group ESG, AIA
Karen Lee has been appointed head of partnerships and advocacy at AIA, based in Singapore. Image: Karen Lee

AIA has bolstered its environmental, social and governance (ESG) team with the appointment of Karen Lee as head of partnerships and advocacy.

She joins the Hong Kong-headquartered insurance giant after two and a half years with Japanese insurer MSIG, where she led sustainability and communications across 14 markets.

Lee’s role will involve working with partners towards the AIA’s net-zero 2050 goal, developing a sustainability culture among the firm’s employees, partners and agents, and engaging with multilateral entities such as the UN Principles of Sustainable Insurance and UN Global Compact.

She joins a company that has made a number of appointments to strengthen its sustainability offering in recent years, including Leong Li Sun as Singapore head of ESG from United Overseas Bank and former Unilever executive Amita Chaudhury to lead sustainability for the region.

Lee will report to Chaudhury, who is part of the company’s ESG committee, the governance body responsible for overseeing ESG Strategy, targets, policies and disclosure across the firm’s 18 markets.

AIA’s most high-profile sustainability commitment in recent years was divesting from coal. Last December, the firm sold off its $10 billion portfolio of coal investments, becoming the first major Asian insurer to curtail its exposure to the fossil fuel.

Over her career, Lee has led sustainability for carpet company Interface across the region, and consulted for Asian Venture Philanthropy Network and Inclusive Business Action Network (iBAN). She started out her career with events company Launch Group.

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