* Wiseman to be CEO when Denison retires in June
* Wiseman a 7-year veteran of the fund
* Pledges to continue global focus
By Andrea Hopkins
Feb 28 The Canada Pension Plan Investment
Board said on Tuesday its head of investments will take the helm
when its current CEO retires in June, preserving continuity as
the C$150 billion fund tries to cement its reach as one of the
world's biggest dealmakers.
Mark Wiseman, executive vice president and head of
investments at the CPPIB, will take over as chief executive when
current CEO David Denison retires in June, the fund said.
Wiseman, 41, and a seven-year veteran of the pension fund,
currently oversees CPPIB's global investment program and has
been a key player in its move to a more active investment
Denison informed the board of directors in 2009 of his
intent to retire in 2012, triggering a long-term succession
plan. Board Chairman Robert Astley praised Denison for reshaping
the pension fund into one capable of undertaking the largest and
most complex deals in the world.
Astley also said that Wiseman has been instrumental in
shaping CPPIB's strategy over the last seven years.
"We undertook a deliberate process, determined to select a
successor who would continue to provide outstanding leadership.
The board unanimously agreed Mark Wiseman was the ideal choice,"
Astley said in a statement.
Wiseman, who earned his stripes at the C$110 billion Ontario
Teachers' Pension Plan before moving over to the CPPIB in 2005,
said the fund will continue its global focus.
"I look forward to taking the helm at a time when CPPIB is
playing an increasingly important role globally, investing in
order to ensure the long-term growth and sustainability of the
CPP Reserve Fund," he said in a statement.
Former CPPIB colleague and pension consultant John Ilkiw
said Wiseman's ascension to the top of the fund, which manages
investments for Canada's public pension system, comes as little
"It is well planned, and well earned," said Ilkiw, who was a
senior vice president at CPPIB alongside Wiseman for five years
from 2005 to 2010.
"There are some individuals who can smell a margin a mile
away," Ilkiw said. "They have this natural ability to understand
balance sheets and legal contracts, (to know) the right people
to hire to implement strategies, and who have the willingness to
take a well-founded calculated risk. That's Mark.
"He is very clear about what the potential upside and what
the potential downside is. An awful lot of success, especially
of the private equity programs at the CPPIB, can find its traces
to Mark Wiseman, and indeed that's why he was hired from the
The CPPIB switched gears in 2006 when it started to move
away from passive investments to make more private equity deals
and shape strategy at companies and projects, mostly in real
estate and infrastructure.
Braving crisis-shaken markets in 2009, the CPPIB ventured
outside traditional pension fund investment parameters to join a
consortium to buy a majority stake in Internet phone service
It flipped the asset less than two years later for a more
than a threefold gain, a turnaround normally unheard of at
pension funds, which usually prefer buy-and-hold kinds of
investments such as bridges and highways.
Wiseman said in an interview in December that CPPIB will
continue to build its global reach by buying into projects that
need money at a time that much of the rest of the world is
"We have about two dozen people in Hong Kong, close to four
dozen in our London office. (You) will continue to see us evolve
globally," Wiseman told Reuters in the interview. "And I think
you'll see us continue to hone our skills and our abilities to
do complex skills that play back into those comparative
advantages, so we can execute on deals that others can't."
As the global financial crisis boiled in 2009, CPPIB had a
hand in three of the top five global private equity deals of the
year, including the largest leveraged buyout: the $4 billion
acquisition of IMS Health Inc, a prescription drug sales
Next, it was involved in the largest global private equity
deal of 2010, the C$5.0 billion leveraged buyout of Tomkins Plc,
a British maker of car parts, industrial hoses and bathtubs,
which it did in conjunction with Onex Corp.
CPP has a 75-year investment horizon, with contributions
exceeding benefits paid until at least 2021.
Before Teachers, Wiseman worked at Harrowston Inc, a
publicly traded Canadian merchant bank, and as
a lawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell, practicing in New York and
Paris. He was also a former law clerk to Beverley McLachlin, who
is now chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.