Directors & Management
Mary Lou Charles
Western Life Assurance
Western Financial Insurance Company
Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions
Jeff Burke, High River, AB
Jeff Burke was appointed as the President of Western Financial Group (Western) on September 1, 2013 and assumed CEO responsibilities on January 1, 2014.
Burke joined Western in May 2012 as the President and CEO of Western Financial Group’s network of insurance brokerages where he oversaw more than 160 brokerages from British Columbia through Manitoba.
In addition to continuing to oversee Western’s network of insurance brokerages, Burke will lead all of Western’s core business units, including Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions, Western Financial Insurance Company (Petsecure) and Western Life Assurance.
Prior to joining Western, Burke held the position of Senior VP at Allstate Canada Group, leading the organization’s sales and marketing efforts.
He began his insurance career with American Family Insurance in Estes Park, Colorado, a tourist community northwest of Denver. After three and a half years, Jeff was promoted to District Manager of American Family in Denver, Colorado. He remained with American Family for 20 years in multiple leadership positions including State Sales Director in Lake Oswego, Oregon; Regional VP of Sales in Eden Prairie, Minnesota; and as VP of Marketing at the Head Office in Madison, Wisconsin.
In 2007, the opportunity arose for Burke to work with Allstate in Denver as Director of Operations for the company’s West Central region. Burke was responsible for seven states and oversaw their independent agency channel. In 2010, Burke was promoted and transferred to Toronto to work with Allstate Canada as a Senior VP. He remained in the role until being recruited by Western Financial Group in 2012.
Throughout his career, Burke has more than 15 years executive leadership experience in the insurance business and provides tremendous inspiration and motivation to Western’s largest business unit.
He has a B.A. from Bethany College, Kansas, and an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix.
Jeff Burke and his wife, Julie, live in High River, Alberta and have two adult children, son, Zach, and daughter, Jolly, both of whom continue to reside in the United States.
Scott Tannas, High River, AB
Scott Tannas is the Vice Chairman and Founder of Western Financial Group. From humble beginnings as a small town insurance agent in High River, Alberta, Scott engineered the building of Western through more than 100 acquisitions, and countless strategic initiatives, all while fostering a corporate culture shaped around Western’s guiding principles of truthfulness, fairness, value and loyalty.
Today, Western Financial Group is a diversified financial services organization, with 1,600+ employees providing more than 600,000 customers with insurance, banking and investment products and services. The company’s network of more than 160 offices stretches across the West from Winnipeg to the Pacific coast.
On the journey from small town insurance agency to one of Canada’s largest companies, Western has garnered many awards and citations. It has appeared on both the Profit 100 and Alberta Fast Growth 50 lists of fast-growing businesses, and was listed as one of Alberta’s and Manitoba’s Top Employers. In 2003, Tannas accepted the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. Business author, Peter C. Newman identified him as one of Canada’s “ascending titans”, calling him a man “married to the future.”
On April 15, 2011 Western Financial Group was acquired by Quebec based Desjardins Group, in a $440 million transaction. In the 15 years between the IPO in 1996, and Western’s return to a privately owned company in 2011, the company’s stock price rose 1,038%. Tannas and his management team remain committed to growing Western and creating value for their new owner for many years to come.
Tannas is the director of a number of private and public businesses, including Western Financial Group and its subsidiaries Bank West and Western Life. In addition to his business commitments, he is a member of The Ranchmen's Club of Calgary, a director and fundraiser for SOS Children’s Villages Canada, and chairman of the Western Communities Foundation.
Tannas was appointed to the Canadian Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on March 25, 2013 and began his duties with the Senate on April 16, 2013. He will remain in his role as Western's CEO until December 31, 2013 after which he will assume a new role with the company as Vice-Chairman and Founder.
Scott Tannas is a proud native Albertan who was born and raised in High River where he continues to reside with his wife Taryn and their four children.
Jim Dinning, Calgary, AB
Stephane Achard, L'lle-Bizard, QC
Douglas Buchanan, Vancouver, BC
Robert Herdman, Calgary, AB
Pierre Mathieu, Saint-Lambert, QC
Sylvie Paquette, Quebec City, QC
Karen Radford, Calgary, AB
Pierre Tremblay, Calgary, AB