President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Paul Taylor is the President and CEO of Western Financial Group (Western).
Taylor oversees Western’s Network of insurance brokerages, and leads all of Western’s business units including Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions, Western Financial Insurance Company (Petsecure) and Western Life Assurance Company.
He most recently served as the President of TransAlta’s business operations in the U.S., and has an ongoing involvement with TransAlta as a Corporate Director on the TransAlta Renewables Board of Directors.
He is an accomplished leader with a proven track record of achieving exceptional business and operational results. His extensive experience includes serving as President and CEO of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), and subsequently as the Chair and Director of the company’s Board. He was also President and CEO of NaiKun Wind Energy Group, an offshore wind project developer. He has held roles in the public sector as well, including serving as the Chief of Staff to the Premier of British Columbia and as B.C.’s Deputy Minister of Finance and Secretary to Treasury Board.
Additionally, his experience is also comprised of serving on numerous Boards of Directors for private sector companies, government owned agencies and not-for-profit enterprises, including NaiKun Wind Energy Group; B.C. Forestry Investment & Innovation; TransAlta New Zealand and TransAlta Power Ltd.; Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Project; the Conference Board of Canada; and the World Wildlife Fund - Canada.
Taylor has been awarded both the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for public service.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Risk Officer (CRO)
Kenny Nicholls is the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Risk Officer at Western Financial Group (Western).
With 20 years of experience in the financial institutions sector, Kenny spent 17 years with Desjardins, prior to joining Western in 2011. He occupied several finance, compliance and risk management positions, as well as executive positions in asset management, pooled and mutual funds, real estate management, securities brokerage, and back office and wealth management companies.
Throughout these 20 years, Kenny has had the opportunity to build record performing teams and to work with a wide spectrum of professionals. From this experience, he was able to develop extensive knowledge around operational processes.
Prior to joining Desjardins, Kenny spent five years as an auditor with Deloitte & Touche in Montreal specializing in financial institutions.
Kenny holds a graduate diploma in public accountancy from McGill University and a bachelor of commerce degree in accountancy from Concordia University. Along with being a member of the CPA order of the CGA, Kenny is also an associate CFA member.
Chief Operating Officer (COO), Direct Distribution
Interim President & Chief Operating Officer (COO), Western Financial Insurance Company
Rod Cunniam is the Chief Operating Officer (COO), Direct Distribution for Western Financial Group (Western). In this role, Cunniam is responsible for the organization’s online presence and digital media within Western. In addition, he leads the Western Direct Insurance line of business, and champions the associated relationship with Desjardins. In addition to this role, Cunniam is the Interim President & Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Western Financial Insurance Company where he focuses on increasing Petsecure’s market share, enhancing the customer experience of policyholders, and driving innovation.
Cunniam is a worldwide leader within the eBusiness profession. Prior to joining Western, he has led major online businesses and implemented best practice solutions in both domestic and international markets. He has held national technology leadership roles with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Bell Canada.
Cunniam has a specialized combination of skills and expertise, and a track record of building high performing teams that put an emphasis on the importance of delivering customer excellence. His eBusiness experience, customer care, and call centre knowledge, as well as his ability to build strong, cooperative teams are core to his success in generating sustained business value.
President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions
President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Western Life Assurance
Grant Ostir is the current President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions and Western Life Assurance.
As the President and COO of Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions, Ostir is responsible for providing the strategic direction of the company’s business operations. His management focuses on the entire business but in particular sales and growth, service, finance, technology, HR, marketing, general administration, compliance and corporate relations. In addition to these responsibilities, Ostir is the lead contact for many of the company’s association partners.
In his role as President and COO of Western Life Assurance, Ostir is responsible for overall business development and business strategy for Western Life Assurance.
Prior to his role as President and COO, Ostir has worked in many capacities at Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions. In his most recent role, Ostir was the executive vice president of sales and service where he oversaw the sales development and marketing as related to commercial and employee benefits insurance across Canada. Ostir has extensive insurance industry experience and has been with Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions since 1996 after graduating from university.
Ostir graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Economics.
James Bond, QC
Chief Legal Officer (CLO)
James Bond leads the legal, compliance and facilities operation functions for Western Financial Group (Western) and its affiliates. Bond also provides strategic input and direction on a number of key business decisions and initiatives.
Prior to joining Western, Bond served as a partner in a major national law firm where he represented Western on a number of significant acquisitions over the last 16 years - including the purchases of Coast Capital Insurance Services and Falkins Insurance. He also led the firm’s recruiting efforts and served on the Professional Services, Inclusion and Diversity Committees.
He has held a number of additional leadership roles, including serving as President of the Canadian Bar Association (BC Chapter), as a member of the Board of Directors of the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation, and as a member of the International Franchise Association’s Diversity Institute. He currently serves as a Governor of the Law Foundation of British Columbia.
Bond received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Calgary and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Alberta. He has been recognized by leading national and international publications and peer rating programs as a leading lawyer in Canada for a number of years, and was named a Vancouver “Lawyer of the Year” in 2014. James was appointed Queen’s Counsel by the government of British Columbia in 2010 - an honour reserved for no more than 7% of lawyers in that province.
Executive Vice President (EVP), Network
As Executive Vice President, Network, Joe Sirianni leads Western Financial Group's more than 115 insurance brokerages in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Sirianni joined Western in February 2012 as Vice President of Business Development.
Prior to joining Western, he spent the past 20 years at TD Bank Financial Group where he held increasingly senior roles, including Regional Sales Manager, Mobile Mortgage Specialist and National Sales Manager, TD Insurance.
As a member of TD, he led various business units from large multi-location branches, to regional specialized sales teams and a national sales team.
An executive with more than 20 years experience in the financial services industry, his expertise lies in sales management, sales strategy, plan implementation, change management, and recruiting.
Sirianni holds an MBA from Athabasca University and a bachelor of economics from the University of Calgary. He has his Canadian securities course designation from the Canadian Securities Institute and his personal financial planner designation from the Institute of Canadian Bankers.
Executive Vice President, Business Systems and Technology
Doug Bennett is the Executive Vice President (EVP) of Business Systems and Technology (BS&T) for Western Financial Group (Western). Bennett oversees all information technology (IT) support, applications development, technology, communications and data management for the organization.
He is a veteran IT professional with more than 25 years of experience working various capacities. Prior to join Western in 2005, Bennett held a variety of consulting roles and worked for Parks Canada for 9 years maintaining their computer networking within Western Canada.
Bennett started his career in 1986, working for a company called Digital Equipment Corporation.
Vice President, Human Resources
Lena Secord is the Vice President (VP) of Human Resources for Western Financial Group (Western). Secord oversees employee relations, succession planning, employee recruitment, benefits and payroll for all of Western.
She is an experienced human resource professional who has been with Western since 2010. Her previous human resources experience includes working in a variety of industries such as pharmacy, distribution, retail, hospitality and communications.
Secord holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources and studied management through the Ivey Management Program at the University of Western Ontario.