New chair to take the helm at CPPIB

Heather Munroe-Blum will succeed Robert Astley when she assumes the role of chairperson of the investment manager’s board of directors in October.

Canada’s Federal Minister of Finance, Joe Oliver, has chosen Heather Munroe-Blum to succeed Robert Astley as chairperson of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) board of directors, the Toronto-based investment management organisation.

The appointment is effective October 27, 2014 when Astley’s term expires.

Munroe-Blum has been serving as a director of CPPIB’s board since 2011 and is currently a member of its human resources and compensation committee. She has more than 25 years of senior management experience focusing on higher education, public policy, and research and development, according to the statement.

“Dr. Munroe-Blum exemplifies the attributes of an effective chairperson,” Astley, the outgoing chairman, said. “One of our principal duties is to provide oversight to CPPIB’s complex, sophisticated and global investment programmes. The board unanimously agrees that Heather’s strong reputation as a leader on our Board combined with her strategic thinking and knowledge of global markets make her a clear and welcome choice as Chairperson and will help ensure a seamless and orderly transition of responsibilities,” he said.

The CPPIB’s chairperson appointment process is overseen by the federal Minister of Finance who consults with the finance ministers of each participating province and with the CPPIB board of directors to select the chairperson from among the CPPIB’s current board of directors. The appointment is for a three-year term but the chairperson has the option of serving an additional two three-year terms after that if they wish.

Astley, who has served as chairperson since 2008, was the second person to hold that position at CPPIB.

“During his tenure, Mr. Astley oversaw CPPIB through a tremendous period of growth as it evolved into a global investment organisation, endured the global financial crisis, diversified the CPP Fund globally and pursued its long-term active management strategy,” CPPIB said.

CPPIB, administrator to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), invests the funds not needed by CPP to pay current benefits on behalf of 18 million Canadian contributors and beneficiaries. CPPIB is governed and managed independently of CPP and at arm’s length from governments. It invests in public equities, private equities, real estate, infrastructure and fixed-income instruments.

As of March 31, 2014, CPPIB’s infrastructure portfolio totaled C$13.3 billion (€9.1bn; $12.4bn), representing 6.1 percent of its C$219.1 billion portfolio.