The board of directors of the C$326.7 billion ($247.2 billon) Quebec pension fund Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (CDPQ) has named Charles Emond as its new president and CEO effective February 1.
Emond replaces Michael Sabia, who announced in November that he would leave the fund after nearly 11 years at the company to run the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.
The board said the decision came after “an exhaustive and rigorous selection process,” and was approved by the government of Quebec.
“For more than 25 years, Charles has accumulated vast international experience and in-depth knowledge of Quebec businesses and the business community,” Robert Tessier, chairman of CDPQ’s board of directors, said in a statement. “Charles has throughout his career demonstrated his ability to carry out complex and important files by mobilizing his teams and managing relations with the various stakeholders with a long-term perspective.”
Emond is currently senior vice president, Quebec, private equity and strategic planning at CDPQ, which he joined last February after almost 20 years at Scotiabank. He was named head of all private placements in November after Stephane Etroy announced he was stepping down as vice president and head of private investments outside Quebec. CDPQ decided to consolidate all its private investment activities in Quebec and internationally under Emond, giving him oversight of direct and indirect investments in nearly 800 companies.
While at Scotiabank and Scotia Capital Emond led a large group of teams deployed in Canada, the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America. He also directed Scotia Capital’s activities in Quebec. He is a graduate of HEC Montreal and holds the title of CPA and the title of expert in business valuation.
“Managing the Caisse is a challenge that I accepted to take on with great pride and a lot of humility, but also with confidence because I know that I will be able to rely on the expertise and great talent of our teams,” Emond said in statement. “I want to continue to build this organization so that it responds well to the great challenges of our time, including that of developing our economy of tomorrow, investing sustainably, while generating returns for our depositors in the future.”
Under Sabia’s leadership the fund rebounded from the 2008 financial crisis by refocusing on the long term, and the drivers of fundamental values of the companies and projects in which it invests, said CDPQ. It produced returns of 9.9% over 10 years as the size of its assets nearly tripled from C$120.1 billion.
In 2017, Sabia spearheaded CDPQ’s investment strategy to fight climate change, which included reducing the carbon intensity of its portfolio by 25%. Earlier this year, the fund, along with a coalition of major global investors, announced that its portfolio would be carbon neutral by 2050.