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The Co-operators appoints new executive vice president, CFO


May 24, 2018   by Jason Contant


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The Co-operators has appointed Karen Higgins as its new executive vice president and chief financial officer, effective June 1.

She replaces Bruce West, who holds the title and announced his retirement earlier this year.

Currently vice president of finance in The Co-operators‘s life operations, Higgins has spent the last 20 years in progressive senior financial roles within the insurance and financial services industry, including the last 10 years leading a number of financial initiatives within The Co-operators.

She joined The Co-operators in 2008 as vice president of corporate finance. In 2011, she took on the role of vice president of finance of the property and casualty operations (CGIC, COSECO, CUMIS General), where she led a team responsible for financial analysis, decision support, reporting and planning. Last year, she took on her current role leading the finance team within life operations (CLIC and CUMIS Life), where she oversees financial analysis and valuation of the organizations in support of business strategies, initiatives and operations.

Before joining The Co-operators, she held similar leadership roles at Clarica Life, Sun Life, and Seniors Money Limited.

“Karen’s reputation as a respected and effective leader is highlighted in her track record of building high performing teams, particularly during times of significant change with a keen focus on motivation, development and succession,” The Co-operators president and CEO, Rob Wesseling, said Thursday. “After a rigorous search that included many highly qualified internal and external candidates, we’re confident that Karen is well positioned to take on her new responsibilities.”

Higgins said the opportunity to lead the finance organization at the insurer is a “privilege, particularly as we develop our new four-year organizational strategy.”

Higgins earned her chartered director designation through The Directors College in 2016, and her chartered professional accountant designation in 1990. In addition to her Honours BA and Business diploma from Wilfrid Laurier University, she completed Harvard Business School’s Leadership program and the Change Management program from Wharton Business school.