The Global Risk Institute in Financial Services (GRI) announced Dec. 13 that Sonia Baxendale will be its new President and CEO, effective Jan. 7, 2019. Baxendale succeeds Richard Nesbitt who is retiring as an officer and a director.

Toronto-based GRI is a think tank for the management of risks in financial services. It is a non-profit, public and private partnership with 32 government and corporate members from asset management, banking, insurance and pension management.

"Sonia has experience at the highest levels of financial services and in many facets of the business that dominate the industry today," said Tiff Macklem, Chair of the GRI Board of Directors. "Her financial services background combined with her experience as a corporate director will bring perspective and leadership to further grow GRI's impact and build on our recent successes."

Baxendale is a Director of Laurentian Bank, Foresters Financial, SickKids Foundation, and Toronto Artscape Inc. She was previously the President of CIBC Retail Markets where she led the Retail and Wealth Management businesses from 2005 to 2011. From July 2017 to January 2018, Baxendale served as Co-Interim President and CEO of Foresters Financial. She was named one of the "Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada" for three years in a row and then joined the ranks of the Top 100 Hall of Fame in 2010.

An increasingly complex world of global risks

"I am excited to join GRI to continue the excellent work with world leading institutions, government, regulators and academia in ensuring Canada continues to leverage its risk capability as a competitive advantage," said Baxendale. "Partnering in research and education will allow us to maintain a sound financial system in an increasingly complex world of global risks."

On behalf of GRI’s Board, Tiff Macklem thanked Richard Nesbitt for his contribution to the organization’s development. "Under Richard's leadership, the quantity, quality and reach of GRI's applied research has grown substantially and its risk education extends from graduate university programs to boards of directors."