CAI hires former Canadian foreign affairs minister

David Emerson, former Canadian minister of foreign affairs, will advise the private equity firm’s portfolio companies. Emerson, who has served as deputy finance minister, minister of industry and minister of foreign affairs, retired from his lengthy career in government in September.

CAI Capital Management has hired David Emerson, who was appointed Canadian minister of foreign affairs in May and retired in September, as a senior advisor.

Emerson will advise the firm’s portfolio companies and assist CAI in identifying new investment opportunities, particularly in western Canada.

Emerson, who has extensive experience in Canada’s corporate world as well as government, said in a statement that he invested in CAI’s early funds.

“[I’m] a big fan of their low-leverage, operationally-focused style of investing,” Emerson said in a statement.

Emerson has been a friend of the firm for many years, according to Tracey McVicar, who heads CAI's western Canadian operations. Emerson's experience growing companies and guiding businesses through various cycles perfectly matches the operational philosophy of CAI, McVicar said.

“We've always tended to get our returns from operational leverage rather than financial leverage,” McVicar said. “At a time when we need builders rather than risk takers, CAI's style is compatible to [Emerson's].”

CAI has 35 “special investors”, basically operational partners who serve on a total of 200 boards, McVicar said.

Emerson has served as president and chief executive of the Western and Pacific Bank of Canada, which hetransformed into the Western Bank of Canada. He worked as president and chief executive of the Vancouver International Airport Authority from 1992 to 1997. The authority recently invested alongside

David Emerson

CitiInfrastructure Investors in a $2.5 billion transaction for a 99-year lease of Chicago’s Midway Airport.

Emerson entered the public service in 1975. During his career, he served as a deputy minister of finance, minister of industry and served as a member of Canadian parliament. He “crossed the floor” in 2006, switching from the liberal party to the conservative under current Prime Minister Stephen Joseph Harper.

Emerson, as a conservative, was appointed minister of international trade and minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, and eventually minister of foreign affairs.

CAI is investing from its third fund, which closed in 2003 on $375 million. The firm’s investors include limited partners from Canada and the US, including some of Canada’s biggest pension funds. The firm, established in 1989, focuses on buyouts, restructurings and acquisitions.