Head of Canada’s largest pension fund resigns after Covid vaccination trip

Mark Machin, the head of Canada’s largest pension fund, resigned after traveling to the Middle East and receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, which sparked a backlash.

In a statement, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board said Machin had traveled to the United Arab Emirates in his personal capacity and “arranged to be vaccinated against Covid-19”.

His resignation, following discussions with the board of directors on Thursday evening, marked a swift exit from a $ 356 billion pension fund that is both a key part of the Canadian pension system for public servants and a global financial heavyweight who has been instrumental in deals including the 2005 buyout of US department store Neiman Marcus.

Machin, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker in his mid-50s who has headed the Office since 2016, did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.

The disclosure of his trip, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, sparked outrage in Canada, where many elderly and vulnerable people are still awaiting the vaccine.

The Board, which manages approximately C $ 450 billion ($ 356 billion) in assets, paid tribute to Machin’s leadership and announced another senior executive, John Graham, as his successor.

Wealthy people have arrived in the UAE in recent months to take advantage of an emerging gray market for vaccines, people briefed on the matter have said.

Some paid around several thousand dollars to get their jab. Government officials have also offered vaccines to some non-residents. For example, UAE Team Emirates, the professional cycling team of the United Arab Emirates, received a blow in Abu Dhabi in January.

The official vaccination schedule is generally only available to residents, who are vaccinated free of charge. The UAE delivered the second highest number of doses in the world, at around 59% and only behind Israel.

Dubai authorities administered the BioNTech / Pfizer and Oxford / AstraZeneca jabs. Many more doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine have been supplied by Abu Dhabi and federal health authorities in the seven emirates of the UAE.

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