AIMCo to Replace CEO de Bever

Leo de Bever will step down as head of Alberta’s $70 billion sovereign wealth fund when the search for his successor wraps up.

(April 28, 2014) — The Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) is launching a search for a new chief executive to replace founding CEO Leo de Bever

AIMCo “will undertake a comprehensive and diligent process, and will take the full time necessary to identify and secure AIMCo’s next CEO,” the sovereign wealth fund has announced. 

De Bever has led the fund to strong performance for several years, adding $23 billion in total return since its inception. Charles Baille, chair of AIMCo’s board of directors, called him “the driving force behind many of our successes.” De Bever, he said, had “created a high performing investment organization of which Albertans can be proud.” 

He joined the organization in 2008 at its first CEO. The Alberta government created AIMCo as a Crown Corporation to professionalize the management of its sovereign wealth and pension assets, primarily. 

“The Crown Corporation set-up allowed me to hire people and compensate them on a commercial basis, at one-third to one-fifth of the cost of doing things externally,” de Bever told aiCIO in 2012.  

In the announcement, he said, “a critical part of the CEO’s job is to effectively pass the torch to the next generation of leadership.” 

However, the CEO drew public criticism and the eye of regulators for his role at now-defunct real estate firm First Leaside Group. The Ontario-based investment group raised more than $330 million—largely from retail investors—but began seeking creditor protection in 2012, according to Morningstar. 

De Bever served as a founding partner of First Leaside in addition to his duties at AIMCo. An archived version of his biography from the firm’s website touted his “extensive experience in managing and evaluating risk.”

The Ontario Securities Commission pursued a case against two other First Leaside executives, alleging that one of the founders “intentionally deceived investors” by selling assets without informing them that the company’s viability had been called into question by an accounting review.

De Bever was not charged with any wrongdoing.  

The statement of his pending resignation made no mention of the First Leaside situation.

De Bever spent much of his career at the Bank of Canada, and served nearly ten years as a senior vice-president of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Prior to joining AIMCo, de Bever led the Victorian Funds Management Corporation in Melbourne, Australia. 

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