Mark Machin’s swift resignation as head of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board following a trip to the United Arab Emirates where he received a COVID-19 vaccination drew a range of reaction from finance leaders, governance experts, and veteran politicians.
Here’s what some of them told BNN Bloomberg as the news broke Friday morning:
“I’m certainly not looking to get ahead of the queue. That would be immoral, quite frankly. At this point, what we are focusing on is ensuring that we can get our most vulnerable vaccinated first in this province and then carry on right to the general population.”
- Travis Toews, Alberta finance minister
“It takes two people to play tennis. So, the board has an obligation to say to senior management, ‘Listen, you need to come forward. We realize these are extraordinary times. Normally, we wouldn’t have to approve your travel or your vacation, but now we will at least for the foreseeable future.’ And second, executives have an obligation, if they’re in doubt, to disclose fully to the board… It would impair their brand and reputation as well, so the teachable moment for all this CEO travel and even politician travel is full disclosure.”
- Richard Leblanc, York University professor of governance, law and ethics
“I don’t think that there’s ever been a situation where a change, for whatever reason, at a major pension fund or financial institution has really changed anything… This is going to be a front page story for a day and it has no material impact, at least on what anybody’s view is on the economy, the financial markets. This is a tempest in a teapot.”
- David Rosenberg, Rosenberg Research chief economist and strategist
“It’s not really so much that he took a trip to the Arab Emirates, it’s that he is perceived at least to have used his influence as the CEO of one of the largest sovereign pension funds in the world.”
- Joe Oliver, former finance minister
"It's a big loss for Canada. I think that if you lose somebody with the talent of Mark Machin... who is a medical doctor, who's done a great job at CPP, I think that it's a loss for Canada... I think this merited a two-minute penalty, not a lifetime suspension."
- Claude Lamoureux, former Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan CEO