OMERS Ventures Founder and CEO John Ruffolo to depart

  • Why this is important: The CEO of a prominent Canadian VC division is stepping down
  • AUM at OMERS: C$95 billion (US$74.2 billion)
  • Actual allocation to PE/VC: 12 pct

John Ruffolo, CEO of OMERS Ventures, is leaving the firm, Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System said.

Ruffolo, who is also leaving his role as executive managing director of OMERS Platform Investments, the pension system’s innovation arm, will remain in an advisory capacity until Dec. 31, the statement said.

The statement did not indicate why Ruffolo is stepping down.

Ruffolo founded Toronto-based OMERS Ventures in 2011.

The firm quickly emerged as an influential venture capital investor in North America’s tech sectors. It has often used its clout to draw attention and dollars to Canadian entrepreneurs and startups, which remain a primary focus.

OMERS Ventures has backed some 37 companies, many of them major Canadian tech names.

They include current investment Hootsuite, a Vancouver social-media dashboard, and Shopify, an Ottawa e-commerce software provider that went public in 2015.

Last year, OMERS Ventures closed its third fund at C$300 million, increasing overall assets to C$800 million. The pension system supplied two-thirds of the commitments, with the rest coming from third-party limited partners.

The statement said Ruffolo will be succeeded as head of OMERS Ventures by Managing Partner Damien Steel, who has been with the group since 2011.

Steel will report to Mark Redman, OMERS executive vice president and global head of private equity.

Managing Director Mark Shulgan will take over leadership of OMERS Platform Investments, also reporting to Redman.

The statement said OMERS remains “very committed” to its venture capital and platform investments groups and looks forward to “growing our strong position in that space.”