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Desiree Fixler

Desiree Fixler is an advocate for change in the practice of ESG investing and sustainability and a keynote speaker on topics including corporate governance, regulation, reporting standards, diversity, the speak up culture, and greenwashing. As a trusted advisor to financial institutions and regulators, including the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, she’s at the forefront of global efforts to drive greater corporate transparency and accountability in the practice of sustainable finance.

Desiree was Group Sustainability Officer at DWS Group, when she exposed what she considered to be extensive greenwashing – huge discrepancies between the firm’s public ESG claims and its internal statements and actions. When her concerns as well as her job were dismissed by the C-suite and Board, she decided to speak out publicly. US and German authorities next launched investigations, which culminated in a police raid at DWS’s headquarters and the ousting of the CEO as well as many other senior figures at DWS and Deutsche Bank.

Desiree’s whistleblowing action sent shockwaves throughout the finance industry and galvanized efforts to tackle greenwashing. She poignantly and candidly tells her story to drive this cautionary yet inspirational tale home for the sake of clearer ESG disclosures and a more evidence-based approach to sustainability.

As a frequent media commentator and keynote speaker, Desiree opens up about the 3 acts to her story: spotting the greenwashing, getting fired and whistleblowing, and finally, industry-wide lessons learned and her professional revival.

Desiree has over 25 years of experience in sustainable finance and investment banking. Previous to DWS, she has held senior roles at JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank and Zais Group, where she built and managed ESG investing and structured credit businesses. Her track record of product innovation includes several award-winning and market transformational products, including the development of the iTraxx and CDX indices, as well as a series of impact securitizations.

Desiree holds a BSc Economics (Hons) from the London School of Economics. She is a member of the CFA’s ESG Technical Committee, a member of the LSE’s Entrepreneurship Advisory Group and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Responsible Investing.