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Wetmore, who has held the position for nine years, is retiring effective immediately, and will give up his board seat. Hicks most recently led the company’s retail division. (Reuters)

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Talking point: Hicks’s appointment comes amid broader executive restructuring at the retail giant. Gregory Craig was named executive vice-president and CFO, and Mahes Wickramasinghe was appointed president of financial services and president and CEO of Canadian Tire Bank, both effective this month. The board had brought Wetmore back to the helm in 2016, after serving as CEO from 2009 to 2014, with the aim of focusing on long-term goals amid retail’s digital disruption. Since then, its e-commerce business has grown substantially, having doubled its home-shipping business for the last quarter of 2019, compared to the year before. The board’s new CEO pick is a vote of confidence in Hicks’s ability to shift the firm’s retail business online at a time of heightened competition from rivals like Amazon and Walmart.

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The company will sell Party City products on its website and across 500 Canadian Tire locations, in addition to acquiring the retail stores. Allan MacDonald, Canadian Tire executive vice-president of retail, said the move will help the firm connect with millennial customers and strengthen its business in items typically purchased around holidays. (Canadian Press)

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Talking point: Canadian Tire has made a number of recent acquisitions as part of larger strategy to sell a wider variety of products and compete in the harsh retail climate that has shut down major retailers like Sears. On Thursday, Canadian Tire reported a 7.8 per cent increase in retail sales in Q2, citing its acquisition of sportswear brand Helly Hansen, culinary-tool manufacturer Paderno and several bicycle brands. Canadian Tire expects to double Party City’s annual sales to $280 million by 2021. Despite that goal, Canadian Tire shares dropped 4.93 per cent in late afternoon trading. Another potential contributor to the drop: the firm reported diluted earnings per share at $2.97, four cents below what analysts had expected.

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The group—led by Desjardins Group, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and OPTrust, among others—agreed to take “intentional steps to promote diversity and inclusion across our portfolios and within our organizations.” That includes setting expectations for public companies to create policies, targets and timelines for improving diversity. Signatories have also committed to reporting on their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion within their own organizations and their investments. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The signatories say they will track and monitor the diversity metrics of their portfolio companies with the “ultimate goal of being aligned with the racial and ethnic demography of Canada.” But they don’t outline what actions they will take against companies that fail to improve their records—for example, whether they would divest from a company that maintains an all-white board. Simply getting firms to disclose their diversity data may itself be challenging. In July, the New York City comptroller and three local retirement funds asked 67 S&P 100 companies to “match their words with concrete actions” after they made public statements in support of racial equality and diversity and inclusion; 34 of them said they would oblige.

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Canada Pension Plan Investments (CPPIB), the Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System (OMERS) and Brookfield Asset Management are all reportedly bidding or considering doing so for SB Energy Holding, which has 7.7 GW of panels. The Canadian firms declined to comment to Mint. SoftBank has invested more than US$800 million for an 80 per cent stake in the company over the last five years. (Mint)

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Talking point: The Indian government is targeting 100 GW of solar energy installations by 2022, the majority of a 175 GW renewables goal. But it’s not on track to hit those objectives—as of November 2019, the country had just 31 GW of solar capacity in total. That didn’t stop the Indian government from announcing an even bigger target, of 450 GW of renewables by 2030, in January. Despite the subcontinent’s faltering growth pre-COVID, Canadian institutional investors have continued to scout deals there, particularly in infrastructure—CPPIB has pledged US$150 million to India’s national fund, while it’s a priority market for OMERS.