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Public Sector Pension Investment Board has hired Deborah Orida, a 13-year veteran of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, as its next CEO.

Ms. Orida replaces Neil Cunningham, who said in February he would retire in March, 2023, after 19 years at the fund and four in the top job. Ms. Orida starts Sept. 1, with Mr. Cunningham sliding into a consulting role for the remainder of his time at the plan.

PSP manages the pensions for more than 900,000 active and retired employees of the federal Public Service, the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Reserve Force. With $230.5-billion in assets as of March 31, it’s the fourth-largest public pension investment manager in Canada, behind Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

Ms. Orida’s appointment should help PSP continue its plans to expand in Asia, which Mr. Cunningham told The Globe and Mail in 2021 was one of PSP’s top priorities. Mr. Cunningham oversaw the opening of PSP’s Hong Kong office.

Ms. Orida established CPPIB’s Relationship Investments Asia portfolio before heading private equity in the region. In June, 2018, she became a senior managing director and global head of active equities. In September, 2020, she moved to global head of real assets. After the appointment of chief executive officer John Graham in 2021, CPPIB added the chief sustainability officer job to Orida’s duties.

Prior to joining CPPIB, Ms. Orida spent nine years at Goldman Sachs and was a securities lawyer at Blake, Cassels & Graydon in Toronto.

In a statement, Ms. Orida said PSP Investments “is a global organization with a proven performance track-record and a strong talent base. It is a tremendous privilege to be given the opportunity to lead one of Canada’s largest and fastest growing pension investment managers at a pivotal moment.”

Ms. Orida will be the only female CEO among the large “Maple Eight” pension-fund managers and one of the few in history: Susan Crocker was president and CEO of the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan for two years, ending in 2001. (The Sponsors Corporation of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, which manages the benefits of the plan but not the investments, has had two female CEOs.)

PSP reported a 10.9-per-cent return for the year ended March 31. CPPIB and British Columbia Investment Management Corp., which also use a March 31 fiscal year, reported a 6.8-per-cent return and return of 7.4 per cent, respectively.

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