Quebec Names New Caisse Head

OTTAWA (Reuters) – The Canadian province of Quebec named a former business executive and bureaucrat on Thursday to head its troubled public pension fund, which posted a record multibillion-dollar loss in 2008.

The new chairman of Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec is Robert Tessier, the former chief executive of gas distributor Gaz Metro LP and a one-time senior provincial bureaucrat.

“He will bring to the Caisse all the stability it needs,” Quebec Finance Minister Monique Jerome-Forget told a televised news conference in Quebec City.

Last week the Caisse — Canada’s largest pension fund — announced it lost C$39.8 billion ($31 billion) in 2008.

Although the fund blamed the global financial crisis and the slumping Canadian dollar, Jerome-Forget said last week the fund had to do a better job of managing risk.

The Caisse is an arm’s length agency that manages investments for various public and private pension plans in the predominantly French-speaking province.

($1=$1.29 Canadian) (Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)