Hub International makes sweeping leadership changes across Canada

par Donna Glasgow | February 19 2005 04:53PM

Hub International Limited’s Canadian operations have undergone a changing of the guard in recent months at the top executive level at four Hub centres.

One of the major changes occurred in September when Paul Brown left his position as Hub Financial Inc.’s chairman and CEO. Terri DiFlorio, president of Hub Financial told The Insurance Journal that the organization will not be replacing the position of chair and CEO.

Ms. DiFlorio said that they realized the position wasn’t required. “Over time, that is what we came to realize; there wasn’t really a necessity for both of us. Paul had an opportunity to pursue some other opportunities that were very exciting for him. So, it worked out well for everyone.”

Ms. DiFlorio added that she has taken on Mr. Brown’s former responsibilities. Mr. Brown is now president of Barrington Wealth Partners, a financial services firm specialized in high net worth clients.

Highlights of the many leadership changes include the appointment of Tina Osen as president and CEO of Hub International TOS in B.C., the appointment of Andre Soucisse as the new president and CEO of Hub’s Quebec operations and the appointment of James Barton as the new president and COO of Hub International Barton in B.C. Please refer to the table provided for a detailed overview of the changes in leadership at Hub International’s Canadian operations.

Next generation

At Hub International’s Chicago headquarters, Kirk James, vice-president, secretary and chief corporate development officer, says the timing of these widespread leadership changes is coincidental and has nothing to do with the company deciding to clean house in the Canadian operations.

“I think it’s mostly just a reflection of the passage of time. We formed the company about six years ago and what is happening is that we have the next generation of leadership...that is maturing and ready to assume positions. You have a natural evolution where you’re going to have leadership changes at the top and, as well, those that were in those positions are moving into different phases of their careers or lives and choosing to wind down voluntarily.” Some are also moving onto different positions in the company, such as Larry Lineker who is now at the head office as the chief sales officer.

Mr. James adds that he doesn’t expect there to be much of an impact on the company as a result of these leadership changes in Canada. “As we grow and mature as a company, obviously our culture continues to grow and mature. We see a continuation of building upon the business model that we’ve been using and we don’t see really any change in direction because of leadership there.” He points out that there are five hubs in Canada of a total of 14 large regional hubs in the group.

As for future acquisitions, Mr. James says that while the company’s primary focus is on expanding its presence in the United States market, he doesn’t rule out acquisitions in Canada either.

“We need to continue to build out our geographic platform in the U.S., but the reality is we are vigilant for acquisitions wherever they may be including Canada. So the bottom line is if there is a good opportunity in Canada, we certainly would be interested in looking at it.”

Branding changes

Other changes within the Hub International group include a branding strategy that involves changing the names of all of the operating centres throughout Canada and the United States to include Hub. The goal is to increase market recognition of the Hub name explains Ms. DiFlorio.

In January, as part of this strategy, Martin Assurance & Gestion de Risques based in Montreal announced its name has changed to Hub International Quebec Limited. In November, this Hub organization also announced that it had signed a letter of intent to sell off a portion of its personal lines book of business to a corporation under the direction of Euclide Cyr, a former officer of the company. The divesture took effect in early January.

The Quebec Hub now intends to narrow its focus and emphasize its commercial and high-wealth client personal lines business. “The Quebec marketplace is continuing with its migration towards a direct insurance environment with respect to standard personal lines business. This transaction allows us to concentrate our efforts on what we do best,” Mr. Martin, the former president and CEO was quoted as saying in the November announcement.