CPPIB’s real estate shuffle

The Canadian pension plan recently disclosed changes with two of the top executives in its real estate team.

Earlier this week, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the country’s largest pension plan, announced that it was creating a new real assets group, incorporating its real estate investments, infrastructure and agriculture groups.

The formation of the new group will affect CPPIB’s real estate team in particular. Graeme Eadie, who previously senior managing director and global head of real estate investments (REI), now will be overseeing the new real assets department as global head of real assets.

“This change will create a better alignment with our strategic portfolio,” the pension plan said in its announcement.

Separately, Peter Ballon (pictured), formerly managing director and head of real estate for the Americas at CPPIB, has now been elevated to head of investments, real estate. Ballon will be responsible for all of the pension plan’s new real estate investments globally and chair its REI committee.

PERE understands that Ballon’s expanded role was not because of the creation of the real assets group, but rather the growth of CPPIB’s real estate portfolio, which is currently managed by more than 75 professionals and now encompasses more than $37 billion in assets, or 12.9 percent of the pension plan’s overall holdings. “The increasing complexity and breadth of the activities of the REI team required that we continue to evolve and deepen the REI’s management team,” a spokesman said in an email to PERE. “In order to do this, Peter Ballon took on more responsibilities in REI.”

Ballon will continue as Americas real estate head, overseeing CPPIB’s property investments in Canada, the US, Mexico and Brazil. Andrea Orlandi remains head of real estate investments in Europe and Jimmy Phua continues to be head of real estate investments in Asia.

In his more elevated role, Ballon, however, will not be joining CPPIB’s senior management team. Eadie will remain the senior management team member who will be responsible for real estate, and now, as global real assets head, infrastructure and agriculture as well.

PERE understands that the real estate team changes took place back in May but were not publicly disclosed until this week.

Eadie’s promotion was among a trio of senior management changes that CPPIB announced this week. Shane Feeney, formerly head of private equity at CPPIB, has been promoted to global head of private investments, replacing Mark Jenkins, who left to become global head of credit at The Carlyle Group. Ryan Selwood, previously a managing director in the direct private equity group, was named head of direct private equity.

Those changes in turn follow three new promotions announced in June, which include: head of Europe Alain Carrier, as head of international; Suyi Kim, head of private equity Asia, as head of Asia; and Deborah Orida, head of relationship investments international, as head of private equity Asia. CPPIB’s president and chief executive, Mark Machin, also was promoted from head of international to head of the pension plan in June.

Eadie has held the top real estate post at CPPIB since joining in 2005. He previously worked at Cadillac Fairview, the real estate subsidiary of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, in multiple roles, including chief financial officer, chief operating officer and president.

Ballon has been at the pension plan for nearly as long as Eadie, joining in 2007. Before becoming head of Americas real estate, he lead the investment teams for the US and Brazil at CPPIB. Prior to that, he worked with several Canadian real estate companies, including Canderel, Brookfield Asset Management and TrizecHahn Corporation.

CPPIB managed C$287.1 billion ($216.9 billion; €194.72 billion) in assets as of June 30.