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Ontario Teachers' to split CF into 2 entities, CEO Sullivan to retire

Cadillac Fairview will be split into two entities under a new operating model announced Monday by The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which also includes the retirement of longtime president and CEO John Sullivan. Ontario Teachers' will establish an in-house real estate group to oversee real estate investment activities.

The plan says the move aligns the real estate investment approach to that of other asset groups within Ontario Teachers' portfolio, where investment capabilities are embedded to “enable information sharing, co-sourcing, and best practices across its global platform.”

CF's global team of 37 real estate investment professionals will transition into the Ontario Teachers’ organization and a search will begin for a global head of real estate, to lead the group. This role will report to Ziad Hindo, chief investment officer, and will join Ontario Teachers' investment executive team.

"We are excited to continue our decades-long relationship with CF under an evolved model that will capitalize on expertise across our two organizations and further strengthen our respective positions as a leading global investor and a best-in-class Canadian real estate owner and developer," Hindo said in the announcement.

"We are excited to welcome members of CF's international investments team directly into Ontario Teachers' in the new year as we establish a leading real estate investment group as a strategic complement to our existing investment teams across other asset classes."

The new model is to be in place Jan. 1, 2024.

Ontario Teachers' will focus on global real estate investing and portfolio management, while CF will focus on growth, diversification and densification of its real estate portfolio in Canada. CF will also continue to provide a variety of real estate services to Ontario Teachers' global platform.

Ontario Teachers' considers this an important step as it continues to execute its global growth strategy working towards reaching $300 billion in net assets by 2030.

Sullivan to retire, Iacono to become CF president, CEO

Sullivan’s retirement is to be effective on Nov.1. He has spent over 30 years in the industry, including the past 25 at CF.

During his 13-year tenure as CEO, Sullivan oversaw the company's strategic evolution, creating community hubs around retail, housing, services, office spaces and transit. Most recently, Sullivan steered CF through its most challenging period in modern history, the COVID-19 pandemic.

He will be replaced by Salvatore (Sal) Iacono, currently executive vice-president, operations. He joined CF in 2008 and has brought operational leadership in managing the organization's 38-million-square-foot retail, office and mixed-use portfolio in Canada,.

He holds a master of business administration degree from McGill University and a bachelor of engineering degree from Concordia University.

"I would like to thank John for tremendous leadership over many years. He has been instrumental in elevating CF into one of the world's premier real estate companies and a leader in cultivating vibrant destinations and innovative communities," Jeff Jacobson, chair of CF's board, said in the announcement.

"I would also like to congratulate Sal on his new role as president and CEO. I am confident that given his extensive experience, broad network, and strong leadership capabilities that he is well-placed to lead CF in the coming years.”

Sullivan will remain in an advisory role with CF after his retirement to ease the transition.

"It has been a tremendous honour to lead the talented team at CF for 13 years. Together we have built an unmatched portfolio, transformed cities across Canada and built exciting partnerships with some of the best companies in the world," Sullivan said in the announcement.

"I am incredibly proud of all we have accomplished and will watch with great pride as CF continues to lead the industry with Sal at the helm and in ongoing partnership with Ontario Teachers'."

About Ontario Teachers', CF

Ontario Teachers' is a global investor with net assets of $247.2 billion as at Dec. 31, 2022. It is invested in over 50 countries in assets including public and private equities, fixed income, credit, commodities, natural resources, infrastructure, real estate and venture growth.

The plan provides retirement income for 336,000 working members and pensioners.

With offices in Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, San Francisco, Singapore and Toronto, Ontario Teachers' has over 400 investment professionals. 

The fully funded defined benefit pension plan has earned an annual total-fund net return of 9.5 per cent since its founding in 1990.

CF is an owner, operator, investor and developer of real estate across retail, office, residential, logistics, and mixed-use asset classes.

The company's Canadian portfolio comprises 68 properties, including landmarks such as the Toronto-Dominion Centre, CF Toronto Eaton Centre, Tour Deloitte, CF Carrefour Laval, CF Chinook Centre and CF Pacific Centre. 

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