Exclusive: FMO agribusiness head joins FinDev Canada

Suzanne Gaboury has joined a newly minted Canadian DFI after a two-and-a-half-year stint with the Dutch development bank.

Suzanne Gaboury, global director of agribusiness, food, forestry and water at Dutch development bank FMO, has joined FinDev Canada as chief investment officer.

In an email to Agri Investor, Gaboury said she will soon serve as the newly created development finance institution’s investment chief. Effective Monday, Hans Bogaard will replace her as FMO’s acting director of agribusiness, food, forestry and water.

Angela Rodriguez, a marketing and social media specialist at FinDev, confirmed Gaboury’s hire to Agri Investor, adding that she will be based in Montreal and start in her role in mid-May.

At FMO, Gaboury managed a €1.1 billion agribusiness, food, forestry and water unit that aimed to invest in agricultural sub-sectors including farming, inputs and processing. Before joining FMO in the Netherlands in 2015, she oversaw a $212 million portfolio of private equity investments as director for the Canada Investment Fund for Africa, a Montreal-based position she held for about three-and-a-half years.

Public-private partnerships

Greg Duerksen, chairman and chief executive at agribusiness-focused executive search firm Kincannon & Reed, told Agri Investor that staffing efforts for both DFIs and private-sector agribusiness investors often pursue the same goals.

“Investment-fund leaders want people who are going to make great investments and then be involved in the follow-on to make their investments great,” Duerksen said. “Suzanne is an example of someone who has been successful on both the private and the public side, because she thinks that way.”

Prior to joining FMO, Gaboury spent nine years as managing director at Cordiant Capital, a Montreal-headquartered debt firm focused on the developing world which co-managed the Canada Investment Fund for Africa. Agri Investor reported in February that Cordiant is expected to devote as much as a quarter of its seventh flagship fund to agriculture.

Gaboury began her career in 1992 in London as a banker with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, managing $1.5 billion in debt and equity investments in the former Soviet Union.

Established last month, FinDev aims to combat poverty by offering financial services to private-sector entities in the developing world. The DFI’s investments are to be organized along three categories: job creation and market development; female empowerment; and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

In its inaugural investment, FinDev last month invested $10 million into M-KOPA, a Kenyan energy provider.

Last week, FMO reached a $250 million first close on the NN-FMO Emerging Market Loans Fund, a debt vehicle with a target of $500 million in which agriculture is one of three key target sectors.