Former RBC chief to chair Canada infra bank

Two weeks after the lender received royal assent, Janice Fukakusa was tapped to helm its board of directors.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank took another step forward last week as Janice Fukakusa, the former chief administrative officer and chief financial officer of the Royal Bank of Canada, was picked to serve as chair of its board of directors.

Fukakusa’s appointment on Thursday came two weeks after Canada’s budget plan, which included the C$35 billion ($27 billion; €24 billion) bank’s creation, received royal assent. It paves the way for the bank to be up and running by the end of the year, according to Jim Leech, a special advisor for the Privy Council office who is heading the team establishing the bank.

Leech said his transition team began the process of looking at candidates in April, narrowing it down from “a healthy list of candidates”.

“[Fukakusa] has good governing experience and is comfortable with large numbers and complex financial transactions,” he told Infrastructure Investor.

The transition team will begin interviewing potential board of directors members this summer and is still receiving applications for the chief executive position, Leech added.

Fukakusa, who retired from RBC in January after 31 years at the institution, was named one of American Banker’s 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking every year from 2013 to 2016. 

“Fukakusa has extensive experience and an established reputation within the financial services sector,” said Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi. “I am confident that her leadership will ensure that the bank delivers on its ambitious mandate.”

A Crown corporation proposed last year, the CIB aims to leverage government funding to bring private sector capital into large infrastructure projects. It will target schemes needing C$100 million in equity or more, with a focus on greenfield projects. The bank is part of the government’s C$180 billion infrastructure spending plan.