Mr. George L. Cooke has been appointed as the Chair of the Board of Directors of OMERS Administration Corporation, effective October 1, 2013. Most recently, Mr. Cooke served as President and CEO of the Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company.
Mr. Cooke will serve as OMERS first-ever Independent Board Chair – a new position created by OMERS following the recent Report on OMERS governance by Mr. Tony Dean. Mr. Cooke has no affiliation with any of the sponsors of the OMERS Pension Plan.
“Creating and filling this new position is an important step in the evolution of OMERS governance in the best interest of OMERS Pension Plan and its members,” said Rick Miller, outgoing Chair. Mr. Miller will remain on the Board until the end of December, 2013 to support a smooth transition.
For OMERS progress reports regarding the 2012 Governance Review, please visit the 2012 Governance Review page.
September 20, 2013 – Toronto – The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) announced today the appointment of Mr. George Cooke as the OMERS Administration Corporation’s first-ever Independent Board Chair, effective October 1, 2013.
The OMERS Administration Corporation (OAC) Board will be expanded to accommodate a 15th director who will fill the position of Independent Board Chair (IBC). This action was taken with unanimous support of all members of both the OAC Board and OMERS Sponsors Corporation (SC).
The creation of the IBC position enhances OMERS governance to ensure its continued strength. The IBC position was one of the key recommendations made in the 2012 Dean Report on OMERS governance.
Mr. Cooke recently retired after a tenure of more than 20 years as the CEO and a Director of The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company, one of Canada’s oldest and largest general insurance companies. During that time, he served as both an Executive Vice President and Director of E-L Financial Corporation (The Dominion’s parent).
Mr. Cooke has also served as a Director of The Insurance Bureau of Canada, The Facility Association, and Property and Casualty Insurance Corporation. He recently served as a member of the Ontario Government-appointed Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force, and is currently the Board Chair of CANATICS, an industry-owned, insurance fraud analytics company. Past director positions also include Empire Life and Atomic Energy Canada Limited. He currently serves as a Director of Hydro One.
When he retired from The Dominion in 2013, Mr. Cooke established Martello Associates Consulting, a business strategy company, where he is currently the President. He is an advisor to the CEO of IMS (Intelligent Mechatronic Systems) a leading Canadian telematics company. He is also involved with a number of not-for-profit organizations, the most prominent being Spinal Cord Injury Ontario (SCI). This work helped him earn the Ken Langford Honorary Lifetime Membership from SCI.
Mr. Cooke enjoys a profound interest in public policy and was a Special Advisor on policy to Robert F. Nixon, Ontario's former Deputy Premier and Treasurer.
Mr. Cooke has a MBA and an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from Queens University, as well as a LLD from Assumption University. He also was awarded a HCIP designation by the Insurance Institute of Canada. Raised in Haileybury, Ontario, he now resides in Toronto, and he and his wife Erica have two children, Arthur and Jessie.
Mr. Cooke's appointment is the culmination of a process that started soon after the release of the Dean Report in January 2013. The IBC search and selection process was carefully structured, and involved consideration of several highly-qualified individuals by a Joint Working Group representing both the SC and OAC Boards.
Rick Miller, the current OAC Board Chair will remain on the OAC Board until December 31, 2013.
With over $60 billion in net assets at December 31, 2012, OMERS is one of Canada's leading pension funds, representing approximately 970 employers and 430,000 members, retirees and survivors.
VP-Public Affairs, OMERS