The Travelers Companies Inc. has added a chief sustainability officer to its executive roster, a first for the property/casualty insurer.
Yafit Cohn is tasked with leading Travelers’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts across the organization and will serve as a member of the company’s ESG and Disclosure committees. Cohn joined Travelers in September 2017 as associate group general counsel and currently serves as chair of the Society for Corporate Governance’s newly formed Sustainability Practices Committee.
Cohn will report to Christine Kalla, executive vice president, general counsel and chief ethics and compliance officer.
Travelers’ formal addition of a chief sustainability officer follows similar moves by insurers such as American International Group, which announced in July it had added the position. AIG said the executive position demonstrated its commitments to sustainability and being more thoughtful and coordinated about its global footprint.
Travelers Chairman and CEO Alan Schnitzer said that his company added a chief sustainability officer for similar reasons.
“Deeply rooted in our culture is the recognition that industry-leading results are inextricably linked with gratified customers and business partners, engaged employees and healthy communities,” Schnitzer said in prepared remarks. “A chief sustainability officer will enable us to deepen the sophistication of our sustainability efforts, tell our story more effectively, and engage more broadly as a thought leader in the related and evolving public policy dialogue.”
Cohn’s leadership has already involved the launch of some new initiatives, Travelers said. The insurer noted, for example, the recent debut of a new sustainability website that addresses 16 topics that the company has identified as its key drivers of sustained value, such as customer experience, community and climate strategy. Travelers said it developed the website, in part, with input from key stakeholders.
Cohn, in prepared remarks, said she looks forward “to continuing to help articulate Travelers’ view of sustainability and further contributing to the important public conversation surrounding sustainable business practices.”
Before Travelers, Cohn served as counsel and a member of the Public Company Advisory Practice at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, where she advised public companies, corporate management and boards of directors on an array of issues pertaining to corporate governance and securities law.