Canadian Underwriter

Fairfax welcomes back former Canadian governor general to its board

October 5, 2020   by Greg Meckbach

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Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. announced Monday that former Governor General of Canada David Johnston is back on its board of directors.

Johnston had to step down from the Fairfax board when he became Governor General of Canada in 2010, the Toronto-based holdings company said Monday.

Fairfax owns more than a dozen insurers including Toronto-based Northbridge, Federated Insurance Company of Canada and Zenith Insurance Company. Northbridge ranked 11th in the Canadian P&C industry in 2019 with net premiums written of $1.79 billion, according to the 2020 Canadian Underwriter Statistical Guide.

After Johnston’s term as governor general ended in 2017, Fairfax hired Johnston as a global advisor. His job was to assist the presidents of the Fairfax group of companies with business opportunities, community responsibilities, and government relations in each of the countries in which Fairfax and its partners operate or wish to do business.

Julie Payette replaced Johnston in 2017 as Governor General of Canada. As the Queen’s representative in Canada, the governor general summons and dissolves Parliament, grants Royal Assent to bills, and serves as commander-in-chief of the military.

In addition to his term as governor general, Johnston “has held a number of distinguished management and leadership positions in academia and government,” Fairfax said Oct. 5 in announcing Johnston’s appointment to the board. He was previously dean of law at Western University in London, Ont.  and has been a law professor at the University of Toronto, Queen’s University in Kingston and McGill University in Montreal. He has also been principal and vice-chancellor at McGill.

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