Chuka Umunna has been hired by JP Morgan to head up its environmental, social and governance (ESG) work in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Umunna, the former shadow business secretary and MP for Streatham who was once a frontrunner for the Labour party leadership, has joined the US bank in a newly-created role leading its ESG activities for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to an internal memo seen by Investment Week.

"In this role, he will work closely with the firm's regional and global ESG stakeholders and partner with teams across all lines of business to help our clients successfully navigate the evolving ESG landscape," the memo said.

The 42-year-old, who was an employment lawyer before becoming a Labour MP in 2010, will become one of Britain's most senior black bankers.

He joins JP Morgan from PR company Edelman, where he co-led its ESG consultancy. He will be stepping down from companies including software firm Vista Equity Partners and UK fintech firm Digital Identity Net UK to assume his position at JP Morgan full-time.

The Change UK founder has over 20 years experience managing private and public sector ESG issues at a senior level, which includes eight years managing ESG factors (employee related issues) on M&A transactions as a solicitor.

JP Morgan's Middle East and Africa head Viswas Raghavan said in the memo ESG affects "everything from corporate finance strategies and investment flows to day-to-day operational decisions and capital allocation' and ‘clients are looking at how they may need to adapt their business models".

He follows a path of former politicians taking top finance roles. Sajid Javid, the former Chancellor, was hired as a senior adviser to JP Morgan in 2020 and Tony Blair was hired as a global adviser in 2008.

His appointment was first reported by the Financial Times.

This article was first pubished by Investment Week