People Space: New OMERS COO, moves at Teachers’, Caisse…

Managing Editor
  • May. 12, 2020
IMAGE: Bob Aziz, the chief operating officer at OMERS. (Courtesy OMERS)

Bob Aziz, the chief operating officer at OMERS. (Courtesy OMERS)

Bob Aziz has been promoted to OMERS chief operating officer. For the past decade, Aziz was with Oxford Properties Group, the real estate arm of OMERS, as executive vice-president and chief legal counsel.

Before joining Oxford, he was president of Great Gulf Homes and held senior roles at TD Bank Financial Group. Earlier Aziz was a partner at Torys LLP and Davies Ward Phillips Vineberg LLP.

Aziz sits on the boards of The Beer Store and Woodbine Entertainment Group.

He holds an honours Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Western Ontario, and will be based in Toronto.

Also at OMERS, Michael Kelly was named chief legal and corporate affairs officer. Kelly is the former executive vice-president and general counsel, having joined OMERS more than a decade ago.

Rowe gets new position at Ontario Teachers’

Jane Rowe will take on the new role of vice-chair of investments at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, effective Oct. 1.

Continuing to report to CIO Ziad Hindo, Rowe’s responsibilities will include advising on the U.S. portfolio including Cadillac Fairview investment activities, mentoring senior employees, liaising with and supporting the alumni network, representing Ontario Teachers’ at external speaking engagements and on company boards.  

“Over the past decade, Jane has brought a distinctive and exceptional perspective to the table,” Hindo said in the announcement. “She is an accomplished investor and team builder with the ability to inspire and develop our future leaders.”

Rowe joined Ontario Teachers’ as head of private equity in 2010. Under her leadership, net assets managed by the equities team have grown from $11 billion to $47 billion, with an annualized rate of return before administrative costs of 18.5 per cent as of Dec. 31, 2019.

A search is underway for a new head of equities.

Tall promoted as Caisse shuffles senior execs

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) announced changes to its organizational structure and senior managers. Among them, Macky Tall has been appointed head of real assets and private equity, a new investment business unit of key asset classes.

Tall’s track record at CDPQ includes globally positioning its infrastructure activities and strengthening operational expertise in liquid markets.

In his new position, he will be responsible for the international private equity, infrastructure and capital solutions teams, as well as for CPDQ infra, where he remains president and CEO.

Tall also becomes chairman of the board of directors of Ivanhoé Cambridge.

This will provide a broad perspective of real assets activities, including real estate, where the portfolio’s repositioning is underway by Nathalie Palladitcheff, president and CEO of the real estate subsidiary.

In liquid markets, Helen Beck is appointed EVP and head of equity markets. As the leader of this portfolio, Beck has overseen equity market activities in recent years. She will join the executive committee.

Kim Thomassin, formerly the EVP of legal affairs and secretariat, is appointed EVP and head of Québec investments and stewardship investing.

Her role includes responsibility for the Québec private equity teams as well as Espace CDPQ. Thomassin will also continue to oversee the stewardship investing team.

Chief economist Martin Coiteux will also receive an expanded mandate, taking responsibility for the global strategy team.

Kirk moves to Selection Group

IMAGE: Heather C. Kirk has been named senior vice president and chief financial officer at Laval-based Selection Group. (Courtesy Cominar)

Heather C. Kirk has been named senior vice-president and chief financial officer at Laval-based Selection Group. (Courtesy Cominar)

Heather C. Kirk has been hired as senior vice-president and chief financial officer at Laval-based Selection Group, effective in June. Kirk was most recently executive vice-president and chief financial officer at Cominar REIT, a role she moved into in December 2018.

She possesses nearly 25 years of experience in real estate, capital markets and real estate investment funds in Québec and Ontario. Prior to Cominar, she worked at BMO Capital Markets, National Bank and for an independent stockbroker.

A native of Montreal, Kirk holds a Bachelor of Administration degree from Concordia University and is a chartered financial analyst title.

Grissen to retire, Marriott to shift execs

Long-time Marriott International (MAR) senior executive Dave Grissen will step down as group president, the Americas, later this year and then retire Q1 2021 after 36 years with the company.

Grissen oversees all of the Americas’ lodging business, comprising more than 5,640 properties and 160,000 employees.

In replacing Grissen, Marriott will consolidate operations under two long-time executives. Liam Brown will become group president, North America and Craig S. Smith will be group president, international.

Over his 32 years with Marriott, Smith’s experience spans work on property (he started in housekeeping), in operations and in staff roles with an international focus.

Brown is currently group president, Europe, Middle East & Africa. A 30-year Marriott veteran, Brown has spent the majority of his career working in the U.S.

In addition, J.W. Marriott, Jr. plans to transition to the role of chairman emeritus in 2022. David Marriott will join the board of directors in 2021, stepping down as a company executive at that time in anticipation of assuming the position of board chairman.

Lynch stepping down as SNC-Lavalin chair

SNC-Lavalin (SNC-T) says Kevin Lynch will step down as chairman of the board following the annual general meeting, once a successor has been chosen.

Following the 2019 AGM, with legal and other challenges facing SNC-Lavalin, the focus of the board of directors was on company renewal: its leadership, strategic direction, legal operating environment and governance.

”During the last 12 months, we have made significant progress in each of these shareholder priorities,” Lynch said in the announcement.

Among them has been a revamp of senior management, led by the installation of Ian L. Edwards as president and CEO.

Berger adds N. America to his role at IWG

IMAGE: Wayne Berger is the IWG CEO for North America and Latin America. (Courtesy IWG)

Wayne Berger is the IWG CEO for North America and Latin America. (Courtesy IWG)

Wayne Berger has expanded his reach at international flexible office space provider IWG, taking on the role of CEO North America and Latin America. The expanded position adds the U.S. to his area of oversight.

Berger has been a highly visible CEO in recent years since becoming CEO Canada and Latin America in July 2014.

He is a regular at real estate forums, conferences and extensively quoted in major media. Berger also served four years as the executive vice-president of IWG’s Regus banner.

Educated at Algonquin College in Ottawa and Toronto’s Ryerson University, Berger’s career has led him through increasingly senior roles at companies such as Staples, Corporate Express and Lyreco Office Products.

Lockhart joins Alignvest board

Alignvest Student Housing REIT has appointed Nancy Lockhart to its board of trustees. Lockhart is also a director of George Weston Limited, Choice Properties REIT and Atrium Mortgage Investment Corp.

Previously, she chaired Gluskin Sheff + Associates, Inc., and was a director of Loblaw Companies Limited, Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, Retirement Residence REIT and Barrick Gold Corporation.

Lockhart also served as CAO of Frum Development Group and was a vice-president of Shoppers Drug Mart Corp.

Armoyan to replace Rapps as Clarke president, CEO

Clarke Inc. (CKI-T) announced president, CEO and director Michael Rapps has resigned, effective in June. George Armoyan, currently the executive chairman of Clarke, will assume the responsibilities of president and CEO.

“Michael has been a trusted leader and an integral part of Clarke’s success over the last eight years,” Armoyan said in a release.

“The Clarke board, my family and I thank Michael for his service, wish him success in his future endeavours and we look forward to working on opportunities together in the future.”

Based in Halifax, Clarke invests in public businesses, private businesses and real estate.

Patel resigns from MCAN

MCAN Mortgage Corp. (MKP-T) chief financial officer Dipti Patel has resigned from her position, effective after its annual general meeting on May 12. Patel has been with MCAN for 11 years.

The company said it has begun a search for a replacement from both internal and external candidates.

Vasic WeWork’s director of real estate advisory

Alex Vasic has taken on a new role at WeWork’s Toronto office, moving to become director of real estate advisory. Vasic was previously director of real estate.

Vasic has been with WeWork since late 2017, when he joined the firm after spending a year in a real estate consulting role at Savills in Toronto. Previously he spent time at both Oxford Properties Group and its parent firm, OMERS.

He holds an honours BA from the University of Western Ontario.

Does your company have an executive announcement to include in our People Space column? Email the information, and an image if available, to RENX Managing Editor Don Wilcox. We’ll include it in our next instalment. 


Don is a veteran editor and journalist with three decades of experience in print and online news, including 20 years at the Ottawa Sun. Most recently, he was the Sun’s…

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Don is a veteran editor and journalist with three decades of experience in print and online news, including 20 years at the Ottawa Sun. Most recently, he was the Sun’s…

Read more





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