MONTREAL, April 30 /CNW Telbec/ - Michael Sabia, President and Chief
Executive Officer of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, announced
today organizational changes to simplify the institution's structure, improve
its overall effectiveness and manage risk more effectively.
"The Caisse must adapt to the current reality of the financial markets,
which is very different from that of recent years and whose impacts include a
decrease in activity in some areas, more volatile markets and more stringent
risk management," Mr. Sabia stated.
In this context, the Caisse has made risk management its top priority and
has accelerated implementation of the three-year development plan adopted by
the Board of Directors in 2008. The horizon for deployment of the plan has
been reduced to 18 months, and most of the priority projects will be completed
by the end of 2009.
To facilitate accelerated implementation of the plan, the Depositors and
Risks Executive Vice-Presidency has been divided. Susan Kudzman becomes Chief
Risk Officer. Specialist positions have been created; these high-calibre risk
management professionals will be incorporated into the teams in each of the
main investment areas. The number of employees in this unit will double, with
the addition of about 20 permanent positions.
"The plan builds on the progress made in risk management in recent years,
incorporates lessons learned from the ABCP crisis and the financial crisis and
is forward-looking. In addition to an increase in staff, it is based on four
key components: development of new risk management practices to deal with
unforeseeable circumstances, optimization of the approval process for new
operations, refinement of risk measures and methodologies, and strengthening
of the risk management culture," Mr. Sabia explained.
Depositors' accounts management
As with risk management, responsibility for depositor relations will now
be assumed by a separate Executive Vice-Presidency. Bernard Morency,
previously Management Adviser in the Executive Vice-Presidency, Depositors and
Risks, has been appointed Executive Vice-President, Depositors' Accounts
Management and Strategic Initiatives. (Before joining the Caisse in 2007, Mr.
Morency was President of Mercer's Health & Benefits division at head office in
"Even though our communication with depositors is frequent and well
structured, the current context requires that it be more thorough. In
uncertain markets, it is important that the Caisse and the depositors exchange
more information on the directions taken by the institution," Mr. Sabia
In the wake of the global financial crisis, many investment operations
have been affected by a drop in activity, notably hedge funds. The Caisse has
therefore decided to combine all investment operations involving liquid
markets into two Executive Vice-Presidencies: Equity Markets; and Fixed Income
As a result of this reorganization, the position of Executive
Vice-President, Hedge Funds, has been abolished, and the staff has been
reduced; the funds of hedge funds management team, led by Mario Therrien, has
been folded into the Private Equity group. The position of Executive
Vice-President and Chief Strategist has also been abolished.
In the Equity Markets group, the Caisse would like to ensure new momentum
and a new perspective. Jean-Luc Gravel, previously Senior Vice-President,
Canadian Equities, has been named Executive Vice-President, Equity Markets, to
replace François Grenier, who had held the position since 2003.
"Mr. Gravel has achieved a very good performance in managing the Canadian
Equity portfolio in recent years, and senior management has decided to extend
his leadership to all the equity portfolios," Mr. Sabia said.
Philippe Ithurbide will continue to be Executive Vice-President, Fixed
Income and Currencies.
Ghislain Parent, formerly Executive Vice-President, Finance and
Operations, has been named Chief Financial Officer. In that capacity, he will
continue to provide leadership for the Caisse's accounting, control and
financial-governance operations, as well as its relations with the credit
rating agencies, but will also take on new responsibilities. He will establish
methods for closer and more active monitoring of the organization's overall
financial performance. He will also oversee consolidated management of
treasury operations, including centralized liquidity management, financial
leverage and financing operations.
"The new financial market context has created a greater need for
proactive, dynamic management of all performance levers. This change will
enable us to move in that direction," Mr. Sabia explained.
Also with a view to developing a better-performing organization, Normand
Provost, Executive Vice-President, Private Equity, has been given the
additional responsibility of Chief Operating Officer. To assist him on a daily
basis, Jacques Lavallée, previously Internal Auditor, has been appointed
Senior Vice-President, Operations and Technologies. He will oversee
information technology, middle-office and back-office services, and business
"We will be relying on Mr. Provost's extensive knowledge of the Caisse
and Mr. Lavallée's full understanding of its processes and products to create
operational synergies in investment support and risk management services and
technologies, as these tools will have to be developed further," Mr. Sabia
Over all, the changes involve the abolition of 55 positions but also give
rise to the creation of 24 positions, mainly in risk management. The Caisse
had 813 employees as at December 31, 2008.
Some of the employees affected by the changes will be assigned to new
"I would like to offer the senior managers and employees who are
unfortunately affected by these changes my sincere thanks for their
contribution to the Caisse during the years they worked here," Mr. Sabia said.
Mr. Sabia also said that, at his request, Fernand Perreault had agreed to
stay on as Strategic Adviser to the President. He will continue to assist Mr.
Sabia and the members of the Executive Committee with the implementation of
the Caisse's main priorities.
For the Caisse's new senior management organization chart, click on the
About the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is a financial institution
that manages funds primarily for public and private pension and insurance
plans. As at December 31, 2008, it held $120.1 billion of net assets. As one
of the leading institutional fund managers in Canada, the Caisse invests in
the main financial markets as well as in private equity and real estate. For
more information: www.lacaisse.com
For further information: Maxime Chagnon, (514) 847-5493