Ziad Hindo Will Depart OTPP and Stephen McLennan is New Head of Investments

James Bradshaw of the Globe and Mail reports Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan chief investment officer to depart at the end of December:

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan chief investment officer Ziad Hindo is leaving the pension fund manager at the end of the year after five years in the role.

Teachers’ named Stephen McLennan, an executive managing director in charge of the total fund management arm, as acting head of investments. That role is effective immediately, and starts a transition of responsibilities for leading the investment division from Mr. Hindo to Mr. McLennan. Mr. McLennan will assume leadership of all of Teachers’ investment activities.

Mr. Hindo will formally step down Dec. 31 after 23 years at Teachers’. He took over as CIO in June, 2018, under previous chief executive Ron Mock. In the five years since then the fund posted net returns of 7 per cent with assets increasing from about $190-billion to $247-billion. Under his watch, Teachers’ also increased its investing in the U.S. and boosted its exposure to assets that provide alternatives to publicly-traded stocks and bonds, including infrastructure, real estate and private credit.

Mr. Hindo “led the development of the investment strategy that has delivered strong returns for members for over two decades,” said Teachers’ CEO Jo Taylor, in a news release.

In a statement, Mr. Hindo said he is “proud of the performance we have delivered in service of our Members.” He will continue to advise Mr. Taylor and will keep his seat on the board of Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd., the pension fund’s real estate subsidiary, where Mr. McLennan is also a director.

Mr. Hindo is the most senior of three senior-level departures from Teachers’ within the last year. Last December, Romeo Leemrijse was chosen to lead its equities department and succeed Karen Frank, who left the pension fund manager last year after leading the division from its London office. And in June, the company announced that long-time Cadillac Fairview head John Sullivan would retire, naming Sal Iacono as its next CEO as it restructured to bring real estate investing operations in-house at Teachers’.

There was another major departure at OTPP recently. Ben Chan departed the organization and Bruce Crane was appointed the new Head of Asia Pacific.

Earlier today, OTPP put out a press release stating Chief Investment Officer Ziad Hindo to depart December 31 after a successful 23 year career at Ontario Teachers’:

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (“Ontario Teachers’”) today announces that after a long and successful 23 years at Ontario’s Teachers’, including the last five years as Chief Investment Officer, Ziad Hindo will be leaving the organization as of December 31, 2023.

Ziad joined Ontario Teachers’ in 2000 and has held progressively more senior roles spanning multiple asset classes and ultimately overall leadership of the Investments Division as CIO since June 2018.

“I would like to thank Ziad for his many contributions in his 23 years at Ontario Teachers’,” said Jo Taylor, Chief Executive Officer. “Through his leadership, Ziad has built an outstanding Investments team, diversified the portfolio by sector and geography, and led the development of the investment strategy that has delivered strong returns for members for over two decades. He has also played a critical role in establishing our multifaceted climate strategy and as an active advocate for action on diversity, equity and inclusion, both internally and through engagement with our portfolio companies.”

“It has been a privilege to lead the Investments Division as CIO over the past five years and to be part of the Plan for over two decades,” said Ziad Hindo. “I could not have imagined when I joined Ontario Teachers’ that it would have provided the level of camaraderie, compelling opportunities, and professional growth and development that would have me here for 23 years.  I am proud of the performance we have delivered in service of our Members, and I am confident the Plan is well positioned for continued success over the long term.”

Stephen McLennan, currently Executive Managing Director, Total Fund Management, has been appointed Acting Head of Investments, Ontario Teachers’, effective immediately. In this role, Stephen will provide leadership across Ontario Teachers’ investments activities. 

Stephen joined Ontario Teachers' in 2003 and has since held positions of increasing responsibility in both capital market and private asset related groups. Most recently he has led the Total Fund Management department, which integrates Ontario Teachers' portfolio construction approach with our treasury and funding capabilities. He also serves on the Board of Cadillac Fairview, Ontario Teachers’ wholly owned real estate subsidiary.

Stephen and Ziad will work closely together to manage a smooth transition of Investment Division leadership responsibilities over the coming weeks, after which Ziad will primarily focus on serving as an advisor to Jo Taylor. Ziad will also continue to be a board member of Cadillac Fairview.

About Ontario Teachers’

Ontario Teachers' is a global investor with net assets of C$249.8 billion as at June 30, 2023. We invest in more than 50 countries in a broad array of assets including public and private equities, fixed income, credit, commodities, natural resources, infrastructure, real estate and venture growth to deliver retirement income for 336,000 working members and pensioners.

With offices in Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, San Francisco, Singapore and Toronto, our more than 400 investment professionals bring deep expertise in industries ranging from agriculture to artificial intelligence. We are a fully funded defined benefit pension plan and have earned an annual total-fund net return of 9.4% since the plan’s founding in 1990. At Ontario Teachers’, we don’t just invest to make a return, we invest to shape a better future for the teachers we serve, the businesses we back, and the world we live in. For more information, visit otpp.com and follow us on LinkedIn.

Alright, on Friday I covered why CalPERS' CIO Nicole Musicco who previously worked at OTPP for 16 years is stepping down at the end of the month.

You should probably read the update at the end of my post as there were things I wasn't aware of.

Today, I was once again stunned when I read that Ziad Hindo is stepping down at the end of the year.

No, I wasn't expecting it, I don't think anyone was.

Ziad is relatively young (early 50s) and could have easily held this position for another five years.

Anyway, I will not speculate as to why Ziad is departing now but I will just reiterate one thing: Jo Taylor is very focused on his north star -- $300 billion in assets by 2030 -- and he's putting the pressure on people to deliver performance.

That's how I read Bruce Crane's appointment and I wouldn't be surprised if more changes are coming.

This is a tough business, very tough, if you're getting paid millions of dollars every year, people expect you to deliver performance.

Now, just to be clear, Ziad Hindo delivered a solid performance during his tenure at OTPP and he wasn't asked to step down (Dan Madge confirmed that to me via email).

Ziad will continue to advise Jo for the balance of the year and he will remain on the board of Cadillac Fairview, along with Stephen McLennan, who has been appointed the new acting Head of Investments and Jane Rowe, the former Head of Teachers' Private Capital.

I don't know Stephen well, only spoke to him once, but he graduated McGill around the same time as I did and we took some of the same economics courses. 

Like Ziad, he's a nice guy, knows his subject matter well and was being groomed to take over this position. From Cadillac Fairview's website:

Mr. McLennan leads the Total Fund Management department, which coordinates Ontario Teachers' asset allocation, portfolio construction, sustainable investing and treasury teams. Prior to his current role, he had responsibilities leading both the Natural Resources group and the Credit group. Before joining Ontario Teachers', Mr. McLennan’s previous experience included working for Merrill Lynch in their investment banking team in Calgary and with the Canadian operations of Archer Daniels Midland. Mr. McLennan holds a Master of Mathematical Finance from the University of Toronto, an MBA from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University. He is also a CFA charterholder and has ICD.D certification from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

As far as Ziad, he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Econometrics from University of York in 1995 and a Master of Science in Economics and Finance from University of Warwick in 1997. 

Very polished and experienced guy who was well respected at Teachers' and by his global peers.

He knows the organization extremely well having joined Teachers’ back in 2000 and has global experience spanning multiple asset classes, in both public and private markets.

He also sits on the Board of Trustees of the United Way of Greater Toronto where they write this about him:

Since assuming his role as the CIO in 2018, he has been instrumental in leading the Investments Division to launch the Teachers’ Venture Growth (TVG), refresh the global investment strategy, expand active investing across the various asset classes and establish a comprehensive climate strategy, anchored by a commitment to achieve Net Zero by 2050. 

Now, a guy like Ziad with his knowledge and experience can easily fill a CIO or CEO role at another Canadian pension fund.

Not sure that's what he wants to do next as he's been at OTPP for almost a quarter of a century.

He's also the best paid CIO at Canada's Maple Eight and can go on to assume many challenges (his compensation is based on performance and his long tenure -- 23 years -- which surpasses the 18 years Claude Lamoureux stayed at Teachers').

Will he join CalPERS and lead its investment division now that Nicole stepped down?

I seriously doubt it but you never know.

Experienced professionals like Ziad are well known in this industry and they always land on their feet.

As far as Stephen McLennan, I congratulated him earlier today and he has big shoes to fill.

I'm certain he will do an great job as he did leading the Total Fund Management department.

Don't forget, Ziad and Stephen learned from one of the best CIOs in the industry, the late Neil Petroff (he was one of a kind). 

Alright, I think I will leave it at that.

I did reach out to Jo and Ziad earlier for additional comments but didn't hear back from them which is understandable. They don't need to add more than the press release.

Below, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan's proven, long-term investment strategy delivered positive results for its members in 2022 to remain fully funded for a 10th consecutive year despite a challenging investment landscape. 

Watch Chief Executive Officer Jo Taylor, Chief Investment Officer Ziad Hindo, and Chief Pension Officer Charley Butler discuss key highlights from their 2022 Annual Report, such as portfolio diversification, agility and other strategies as they build toward our goal of achieving $300B in net assets by 2030.