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Gordon Fyfe has been named chief executive officer B.C. Investment Management Corp.

British Columbia's giant pension fund manager has named federal pension executive Gordon Fyfe as its next chief executive officer, saying it wanted a new leader with experience in global investment deals.

Mr. Fyfe, 56, has been CEO of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board in Ottawa for the past 11 years. PSP Investments manages $90-billion in pension assets for employees in the federal public service, and is Canada's fifth-largest pension fund manager.

He will move to Victoria to become CEO of B.C. Investment Management Corp., which has $114-billion in assets and is Canada's fourth-largest pension fund manager. BCIMC manages pension assets for public-sector workers in the province, and also oversees public trust funds and public insurance assets.

Mr. Fyfe will replace Doug Pearce, who has led BCIMC for 26 years and announced his plans to retire last August. Mr. Fyfe will take over on July 7.

BCIMC board chair Rick Mahler said Mr. Fyfe was born and raised in Victoria, where BCIMC is based, and most of his extended family is still in B.C. His two sons also are in high school and university in the province.

"We were looking for a Canadian, and not only did we get a Canadian, we got somebody from Victoria," Mr. Mahler said. "He grew up here, and he went to [the University of British Columbia]. He wanted to finish his career in British Columbia."

BCIMC has been increasing its focus on global investment opportunities, and announced Thursday it earned a 14.7-per-cent rate of return last year after increasing its weighting in non-Canadian stocks. The fund has announced plans to open offices in London and Singapore to expand its global investment portfolio.

Mr. Fyfe worked for J.P. Morgan in New York and London and also previously worked in France, helping him develop a global network of contacts. Mr. Mahler said asset managers worldwide are seeking out new investment opportunities around the world, and developing strong partnerships with other global fund managers is key to being included in deals.

"Gordon has had a philosophy of developing partnerships in various countries around the world, and he has been very effective in using those partnerships to ferret out transactions," Mr. Mahler said.

BCIMC said Mr. Fyfe will also carry on the fund's mandate to invest in a socially responsible manner. The B.C. fund has been a high-profile proponent of responsible investing and Mr. Pearce frequently spoke publicly about policy reforms to improve corporate governance in Canada. He is a former chair of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, a powerful lobby group of institutional investors.

Mr. Fyfe has had a lower public profile on policy and governance issues, but Mr. Mahler said the organizations that rely on BCIMC to manage their funds expect BCIMC's commitment to responsible investing to continue.

Follow Janet McFarland on Twitter: @JMcFarlandGlobeOpens in a new window

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