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Mark Machin, CEO of Canada’s Largest Pension Manager, Steps Down Amid Vaccine Scandal

Senior managing director John Graham will immediately take over as CEO of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

The chief executive of the C$475.7 billion Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has resigned after it was revealed that he had flown to the Middle East for a coronavirus vaccine, circumventing a long queue for the shot in Canada.

“Recently, our CEO Mark Machin decided to travel personally to the United Arab Emirates where he arranged to be vaccinated against Covid-19,” the pension manager’s board of directors said in a statement Friday. “After discussions last evening with the board, Mr. Machin tendered his resignation and it has been accepted.”

Machin’s trip to the U.A.E. was originally reported by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. The Journal said that the 54-year-old CEO “used his local connections” to obtain the first dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, and that he was due to receive a second dose in the coming weeks. 

In Canada, the vaccination roll-out has been slow relative to other developed countries, with 4.71 doses having been administered for every 100 people as of Friday, according to a University of Oxford data tracker. This compares with about 21 doses for every 100 people in the United States. 

“Since 1999, CPP Investments has existed to help provide a foundation upon which millions of Canadians can build their financial security in retirement,” the board of directors said in a statement. “In practice, that requires managing nearly $500 billion in assets at arm’s length from federal and provincial governments, relying on a skilled, experienced, and professional team. Leadership is, therefore, fundamental to meeting our objectives on behalf of Canadians and we take that responsibility of leadership very seriously.”

Effectively immediately, the board said that senior managing director John Graham would replace Machin as CEO of CPP Investments. Graham, a 10-year veteran of the pension manager, was most recently responsible for leading principal credit investments, private real estate debt, and public credit.

“John is ideally suited to lead the organization forward,” the board said in the statement. “He has been instrumental in helping to shape and execute CPP Investments strategy over the last decade as a longstanding employee and member of the senior management team with a successful track record of building and leading global investment businesses.”

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