New OMERS Ventures exec stays on track

OMERS Ventures, the venture capital arm of the C$65.1 billion (US$58.7 billion) Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, picked up a world-class athlete when it hired a new managing director this month.

Kent Thexton was the junior Canadian record holder in the 1,500 meters in 1982 while in high school in Ottawa. Two years later, while a student at the University of Western Ontario, Mr. Thexton qualified for the Olympic Games in Los Angeles; however, he was sidelined during the games because of a calf injury.

Mr. Thexton hasn't stopped running — or competing. He has run four marathons but concentrates more on triathlons, competing last September in the Age-Group World Championships in London, finishing 16th overall in the 50-54 age group.

Mr. Thexton, who estimates he's run 50,000 miles in his career, said his athletic background helps him on the job. “Sports makes you learn self-discipline, learn to focus,” he said. “You get to that start line, it's just you. It also forces you to do time management, like getting up at 6 a.m. to get a run in. As a venture capitalist, you look at so many different businesses. You need to be able to get focused, bring your best game.”

At Toronto-based OMERS Ventures, Mr. Thexton will oversee North American technology, media, and telecommunications investments. OMERS Ventures has C$200 million in its first fund but is working on a final close for OMERS Ventures II.

This article originally appeared in the March 17, 2014 print issue as, "New OMERS Ventures exec stays on track".