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PE head Charles Émond becomes CDPQ’s new chief executive

Émond in late 2019 was appointed to lead Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec's global private equity strategy.

Charles Émond has been named president and CEO of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, replacing Michael Sabia, who held the role for more than a decade.

Émond, who will step into Sabia’s shoes on February 1, was only recently installed as CDPQ’s executive vice-president responsible for Québec and global private equity and strategic planning. He took over the global PE operation late last year from Stephane Etroy, who left to spend more time with his family.

Émond joined Montreal-based CDPQ in February 2019 after working for nearly 20 years as a senior executive at Scotiabank.

In a statement, CDPQ’s board of directors did not indicate a process for finding a successor to Émond in the top PE job. Potential candidates include his team’s seven managing directors: François Boudreault, Arthur Brohinsky, Stéphanie Desrosiers, Daniel Leith, Lorenzo Levi, Meng Ann Lim and Jean Potvin.

CDPQ, Canada’s second largest pension fund with net assets of C$327 billion ($248 billion; €225 billion), is one of the world’s biggest investors in PE. Operating from offices in Montreal, New York, London and Singapore, the PE group deployed more than C$9 billion in the global market in 2018, ending the year with net portfolio assets of nearly C$43 billion.

CDPQ has steadily shifted its PE focus to direct investing, which in 2018 accounted for three-quarters of portfolio activity. It has nonetheless continued to grow commitments to fund partners that provide access to deal flow, strategic opportunities and specific markets. Examples include Altas Partners, Ardian, Blackstone, CD&R, CVC Capital Partners, KKR and Silver Lake.

Sabia was appointed CDPQ’s president and CEO in 2009. He will now join the University of Toronto as director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

Action item: See Charles Émond’s biography here.