CPPIB’s Lavallée to head Canada Infra Bank

The executive has left his senior managing director role at the Canadian pension to become CIB’s first CEO.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank named Pierre Lavallée its first chief executive as preparations to get the C$35 billion ($27.2 billion; €23.2 billion) project finance agency off the ground near completion.

Lavallée starts the new role on 18 June, heading the federal agency which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first announced in 2015 to fund and draw private investments for Canadian infrastructure projects.

Earlier this month, Lavallée resigned from the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, where he worked for six years, most recently as a senior managing director and global head of investment partnerships, where he led a team managing approximately C$94 billion of assets. Prior to that, he was executive vice president at Montréal-based Reitmans (Canada) Limited and a partner at Bain & Co.

“I am excited to build a team and start working with the board, private and institutional investors and public-sector proponents on innovative transactions to develop new infrastructure projects for Canadians,” Lavallée said in a statement.

The CIB, an arm’s length Crown corporation proposed in 2016 and created last year, will use C$15 billion in federal funding and C$20 billion in equity and debt to help finance infrastructure projects. The agency has earmarked C$5 billion each for spending on public transit, trade and transportation corridors, and green infrastructure.

The government’s plan is to bring in four or five private-sector dollars for every government dollar invested. CIB will target large projects requiring around C$100 million in equity or more, with a focus on greenfield development. The ideal projects would be revenue-generating, but not easily bankable without the government’s help.

The CIB’s board of directors and senior leadership include several high-profile names from Canada’s infrastructure and finance community. Janice Fukakusa, chair of the bank’s board of directors, was previously the chief financial officer of Royal Bank of Canada.

Bruno Guilmette, former senior vice president of infrastructure at PSP Investments, joined the board last November and stepped down temporarily to serve as interim chief investment officer, a role he will relinquish next week. According to the statement, he will return to the board on 1 June and will work with Lavallée during the leadership transition. CIB did not indicate whether a new chief investment officer would be taking Guilmette’s place.