CPP Investments’ Selwood departs as head of direct PE

The development comes a week after the world's biggest private equity investor said it was promoting its Asia-Pacific head to lead its global PE business.

There’s been more shuffling at the top of CPP Investments‘ private equity group, a week after the Canadian pension giant said it had promoted its head of Asia-Pacific to global head of private equity.

Ryan Selwood, head of direct private equity and a 15-year veteran of the Canadian pension giant, is leaving the institution, according to two sources familiar with the matter. It is unclear where he is headed next.

The pension has appointed Maximilian Biagosch to replace Selwood, one of the sources said. Biagosch, a former Permira executive, joined the pension in 2015 and has been leading its portfolio value creation group.

CPP Investments’ direct PE unit has acquired direct stakes in companies including Galileo Global Education, software provider Visma and Merlin Entertainments over the past 24 months.

The changes are understood to have been announced internally on Wednesday.

The C$497.2 billion ($397.6 billion; €336.6 billion) institution said in late July that Suyi Kim, senior managing director and head of Asia-Pacific at the pension, was to replace Shane Feeney as global head of the asset class, effective mid-September. Private Equity International reported in June that Feeney had decided to leave the pension to join Northleaf Capital Partners as head of its secondaries business.

Toronto-based Selwood joined CPP Investments in 2006. He had previously led both CPP Investments’ direct private equity activities in Europe and in financial institutions, according to the pension’s website. Prior to joining CPPIB he worked at Merrill Lynch & Co in the financial institutions group of the investment banking division in New York.

The direct PE business contributed “significant net income” to the overall private equity group and to the pension in the year to end-March, according to CPP Investments’ latest annual report. This business, which comprises more than 60 professionals, delivered a net return of 41.9 percent, or net income of C$16.1 billion, in the year to end-March. The value of the portfolio jumped more than 40 percent in its most recent financial year to 88 direct investments worth C$53.3 billion, up from 85 investments valued at C$38.0 billion.

CPP Investments is the largest investor in private equity, according to Private Equity International’Global Investor 100 ranking – having recorded its best-ever net annual return at 20.4 percent for the year ending 31 March.

On Friday, CPPIB said it had appointed Dean Connor and Barry Perry to its board of directors. Connor has more than four decades of global experience in financial services and executive consulting and has spent the past decade as president and chief executive of Sun Life Financial. Perry has more than three decades of experience in the utilities, paper manufacturing and oil refining sectors and was most recently president and chief executive at Fortis.

A spokeswoman for CPP Investments did not return requests for comment about Selwood’s departure.