CDPQ president/CEO Sabia to leave in Feb ’20

Michael Sabia, president and CEO of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, will be leaving the company at the beginning of February 2020. Sabia will lead the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. Sabia has been with CDPQ for nearly 11 years.


MONTRÉAL, Nov. 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ – Michael Sabia, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), announced today that after 11 years at the helm of the institution that manages the retirement savings of Quebecers, he will leave CDPQ at the beginning of February 2020.

“Leading CDPQ for nearly 11 years has been the greatest privilege of my career. Throughout this period, my goal has been to realize the full potential of this unique institution to benefit the people of Québec. I know that I am leaving CDPQ and its people in a strong position to seize the many opportunities that lie ahead for them as I move on to my next challenge,” said Mr. Sabia.

“Michael Sabia has done an outstanding job as CDPQ’s President and Chief Executive Officer,” said Robert Tessier, CDPQ’s Chairman of the Board. “His leadership has been founded on a clear vision: in a complex and changing world, to build a global financial institution with a diversified portfolio that benefits both our depositors and the Québec economy as a whole. Courageously stepping up to the challenge of leading CDPQ in 2009 following the financial crisis, Michael and his team step by step have rebuilt the organization and repositioned it with new ideas, while creating international career opportunities for Québec’s finance professionals. Today, CDPQ is a world-class investor with a strong reputation in global markets and a major contributor to the revitalization of the Quebec economy. An organization that Quebecers have every reason to be proud of. On behalf of the Board and all the employees, I would like to thank Michael for his vision and deep commitment to CDPQ,” added Mr. Tessier.

Under Michael Sabia’s leadership, CDPQ was transformed after the 2008 financial crisis, refocusing on the long term and on the fundamental value drivers of the companies and projects in which it invests. CDPQ has produced solid and sustainable returns of 9,9% over 10 years for its depositors – nearly tripling its assets from $120.1 billion to $326.7 billion – the result of a strategy based on diversification and globalization of its activities. CDPQ has built a strategic local presence in key global markets and established industry-leading partnerships to invest in superior quality assets. With this approach, CDPQ has diversified sources of return to meet the needs of our depositors. As at December 31, 2009, 64% of CDPQ’s assets were invested in Canada. As at December 31, 2018, this proportion was reversed, with 64% of CDPQ’s assets, or $220 billion, now invested in global markets growth and benefiting from this growth.

Mr. Sabia introduced a new vision for CDPQ’s investments in Québec by reconciling the two aspects of CDPQ’s mission – generating optimal returns and contributing to Québec’s economic development. CDPQ has achieved the highest level of investment in Québec’s private sector since its creation by supporting the growth and globalization of Québec companies, as well as creating innovative projects with significant economic impact such as the Réseau express métropolitain. CDPQ is the first pension fund manager in the world to design, build and operate a public transit system.

In 2017, with the goal of positioning the institution for the coming economic transition, Mr. Sabia and his team created and launched an investment strategy to address climate change. The strategy sets out objectives for increasing low-carbon assets in the CDPQ portfolio and reducing its carbon intensity by 25%. This combination of objectives was a first in the industry. Earlier this year, CDPQ announced, with a coalition of major global investors, that its portfolio would be carbon-neutral by 2050. These concrete and forward-looking initiatives have led to recognition of CDPQ as a global leader on this important issue.

“It’s our distinctive approach of investing constructive capital, producing solid returns for our depositors while investing in the development of the real economy, that has guided all our work over the last decade. This approach has allowed us to contribute to the vitality of a modern and strong Québec economy that can compete confidently in global markets,” said Michael Sabia. “CDPQ is – first and foremost – all the extremely talented people who work here every day with their expertise, know-how and commitment. And it’s thanks to them that we were able to build the world-class institution that CDPQ is today. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart. I also want to thank the members of our Board – particularly Robert Tessier, our Chairman. It has been a great pleasure for me to work with Robert from the beginning. I want to thank him for his support and counsel,” he added.
Building on his experience and interest in international affairs and in the evolution of the global economy – work that he began at CDPQ – Mr. Sabia has accepted an offer to lead the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto following a global search process. “This appointment will allow me to continue working on issues that I think are particularly important in the current state of world affairs. In this new role, I’ll benefit from my presence in the rich cultures of two global cities, Montréal and Toronto,” said Mr. Sabia. He will take up his new role at the beginning of February 2020.

Selection process
CDPQ’s Board of Directors has started the selection process for the next President and Chief Executive Officer. As part of the process, the Board has retained the services of an international firm to support its review of candidates.

“CDPQ’s Board of Directors has launched a rigorous selection process to find the best person to lead this key Québec institution. To ensure an orderly transition, we intend to conclude the process at the beginning of 2020 with the appointment of a successor approved by the government,” stated Robert Tessier, Chairman of CDPQ’s Board.

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) is a long-term institutional investor that manages funds primarily for public and parapublic pension and insurance plans. As at June 30, 2019, it held CA$326.7 billion in net assets. As one of Canada’s leading institutional fund managers, CDPQ invests globally in major financial markets, private equity, infrastructure, real estate and private debt. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @LaCDPQ or consult our Facebook or LinkedIn pages.