CPP investment chief Mark Wiseman to make surprise exit after nearly four years at helm

, International

Mark Wiseman has been chief executive at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for almost four years.

The executive who oversees investments on behalf of Canada’s largest pension fund is leaving in a surprise move that is in marked contrast to the “orderly long-term succession plan” of his predecessor.

Sources told the National Post that Mark Wiseman is departing soon from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, where he has been chief executive for almost four years.

The CPPIB announced Thursday that Wiseman is leaving to take a “senior leadership” role at Blackrock next month.

He will be succeeded atop the pension giant on June 13 by Mark Machin, CPPIB’s senior managing director and head of international.

Wiseman, 45, took over from David Denison in June of 2012, a handover that had been planned for months.

Denison spent seven years at CPPIB, which invests funds not needed to pay current pensioners, before retiring the year he turned 60.

The latest transition in leadership of the investment management organization behind the Canada Pension Plan, the country’s national pension scheme, is expected to be unveiled Thursday along with annual financial results.

“There a bunch of moving parts around the yearend,” one source told the Post.

The source suggested Wiseman is leaving for another position, but declined to say where he is headed, or who will replace him at the fund, which had $282.6 billion under management at the end of December.

There a bunch of moving parts around the yearend.

Another source later suggested Wiseman could remain at the pension for a period of time after announcing his planned departure. Wiseman could not be reached for comment, and company officials did not respond to a request for comment.

While the two sources characterized his departure as amicable, and said there was no suggestion of concern in Wiseman’s leadership, another familiar with CPPIB’s inner workings said there was friction on issues including his leadership style and travel.

Wiseman’s extensive travel outside Canada might be explained by the rapid expansion of the fund’s overseas operations on his watch — offices were opened in Sao Paulo, Mumbai and New York. But the source said some questioned whether it was only the CPP’s interests that were being promoted.

Described by some familiar with his style as smart and strong-willed, Wiseman has been associated with CPPIB’s international investments since before he ascended to the top job in 2012.

Before he was selected as CEO, he held the position of executive vice-president, investments, and was responsible for the fund’s overall global investment programs, and some aspects of long-term strategy.

Wiseman joined CPPIB in 2005, landing at what would eventually grow to be Canada’s largest pension after working in a senior role at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

When he was selected to take over as CEO, it followed a long succession process. Denison, his predecessor, triggered the process in June of 2009 when he informed CPPIB’s that he intended to retire in three years.

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