You're in good hands

Mark Wiseman '96If you're not familiar with the name Mark Wiseman, you should be. As president and CEO of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Wiseman is a key player in securing the pensions of 17 million Canadians. He manages a reserve fund currently worth $140 billion.

"It is, in my opinion," he says, "one of the coolest jobs in Canada."

Along the way, he's held some other pretty cool jobs too. Wiseman has served as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Beverley McLachlin (before she became chief justice), obtained an LLM from Yale University, where he was a Fulbright Scholar, worked as a corporate lawyer for a top Wall Street firm in New York and Paris, and partnered with fellow UofT alumnus Brent Belzberg at the merchant bank Harrowston Inc. Just before he joined CPPIB, Wiseman helped run Teachers' Private Capital, the private investment arm of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. Not a bad resume for a guy who graduated in 1996 from one of the very first JD/MBA classes.

"I was primarily interested in the legal side of it," he recalls. "So for me, getting an MBA with one year of additional study seemed like quite frankly a pretty good deal." The deal turned out to be better than pretty good. On a personal level, he met his future wife, Marcia Moffat, on the first day of school. A power player in her own right, Moffat is a top executive at the Royal Bank of Canada. Professionally, Wiseman's business acumen helped set him apart while he was practicing corporate law, and ultimately led to job offers from his clients.

"I understood how to tear apart a balance sheet," he says. "I understood how to read an income statement and the importance of cash flow-more than most lawyers."

That background helped propel Wiseman to the top of his profession. Under his leadership, CPPIB has emerged as one of the boldest and most respected private-equity players in the world. It now owns chunks of hundreds of companies and interests globally, ranging from Skype, to Ontario's 407 highway, to a piece of Manhattan's Rockefeller Center.

Perhaps most satisfying, says Wiseman, is that every day, he's working for the public good.

Very cool, indeed.

By Karen Gross

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