Our Directors & Management
Board of Directors:
Jeff Burke, High River, AB
Jim Dinning, Calgary, AB
Karen Radford, Calgary, AB
Pierre Mathieu, Saint-Lambert, QC
Robert Herdman, Calgary, AB
Scott Tannas, High River, AB
Sylvie Paquette, Quebec City, QC
Linda Fiset (will be appointed August 28, 2014)
Jean Royer (will be appointed August 28. 2014)
Executive Leadership Group:
President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Jeff Burke was appointed as the President of Western Financial Group (Western) on September 1, 2013. He assumed CEO responsibilities on January 1, 2014.
Jeff 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 overseeing Western’s network of insurance brokerages, Jeff leads 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, Jeff held the position of Senior Vice President 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 Vice President of Sales in Eden Prairie, Minnesota; and as Vice President of Marketing at the Head Office in Madison, Wisconsin.
In 2007, the opportunity arose for Jeff to work with Allstate in Denver as Director of Operations for the company’s West Central region. Jeff was responsible for seven states and oversaw their independent agency channel. In 2010, Jeff was promoted and transferred to Toronto to work with Allstate Canada as a Senior Vice President. He remained in the role until being recruited by Western Financial Group in 2012.
Throughout his career, Jeff 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 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.
Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)
Catherine Rogers has been with Western since its inception in 1996 and has held various positions over the company’s 18 years; greatly contributing to the company that Western is today.
As the Executive Vice President & CAO, Catherine is responsible for overseeing business technology, compliance and operational risk management, and project management including the oversight of all optimization and development activities between Desjardins and Western.
During her career at Western, Catherine has been involved in many aspects of the organization including corporate planning, compliance and internal audit, legal, and business technologies. Prior to becoming the Executive Vice President & CAO in September 2011, Catherin served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
Catherine has been an integral part of more than 150 acquisitions during her career at Western. These include the acquisition of Western Life, Falkins Insurance Group, and the purchase of Coast Capital Insurance Services, Western’s largest acquisition to date.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Risk Officer (CRO)
Kenny Nicholls, CGA, is the CFO and CRO at Western Financial Group.
With over 18 years of experience in the financial institutions sector, Kenny has spent 17 years with Desjardins Group, prior to joining Western, having occupied several finance, compliance and risk management and executive positions in asset management, pooled and mutual funds, real estate management, securities sell and buy sides, brokerage, back office and wealth management companies.
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, a Bachelor of commerce degree major in accountancy from Concordia University, along with being a member of the CGA order of Quebec and Canada and an associate CFA member (Montreal Chapter). Born and raised in Quebec City, Kenny moved to Montreal in 1986 and remained there until his move to Calgary to join Western Financial Group in 2011.
Chief People Officer (CPO)
Peter Stratton was promoted to the role of CPO at Western Financial Group in November 2013.
An expansion of his most recent role as Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Peter will continue to lead Western’s Human Resources and will also champion the teams of Learning and Development, Customer Experience and Marketing and Communications.
Beginning his career in the travel and financial services sector, Peter moved rapidly through a series of management roles with increasing levels of responsibility. Over the course of his career, he has held major leadership roles in many areas of business including Retail, B2B sales, Marketing, Consulting, Start-up ventures, Business Partner Management, Information Technology and Audit.
Having led large teams in the UK, with global responsibilities for Australia, Asia, North America and Europe, Peter’s experience and leadership proved invaluable when he helped secure a shareholder deal that would see the company sold for a staggering $1 billion.
After his successful career in the UK, he joined Western as a consultant to help provide strategy and guidance around many key projects and initiatives. In 2010, Peter was appointed Interim Vice President, Human Resources and continued to help lead Western’s Human Resources team in his most recent capacity as Executive Vice President, Human Resources.
- Doug Bennett, Executive Vice President, Business Systems & Technology
- Grant Ostir, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Group Insurance Solutions & Western Life Assurance
- Joe Sirriani, Executive Vice President Sales, Network
- John Jenner, Vice President, Marketing & Communications
- Rod Cunniam, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Direct Distribution & Interim President, Western Financial Insurance Company
Senior Management Group:
- Bipin Lakhani, Vice President, Customer Experience
- Blake Reichert, Senior Regional Vice President Sales, Alberta
- Brian Hynes, Vice President, Business Systems
- Dave Pettigrew, President and Chief Executive Officer, Harvard Western Insurance
- Deanne Magnus, Vice President, Finance, Corporate
- Denise Lang, Regional Vice President Sales, Manitoba
- Diane McMillian, Vice President, Administration, Western Life Assurance
- Greg McGill, Senior Regional Vice President Sales, British Columbia
- James Hall, Regional Vice President Sales, Kootenays,
- Justin Friesen, Vice President, Commercial Insurance
- Laurie Gordon, Vice President, Legal
- Lena Secord, Vice President, Human Resources
- Mark Dutton, President, Coast Capital Insurance Services & Senior Regional Vice President Sales, Coastal BC
- Mark Giesbrecht, Vice President Finance, Insurance
- Mary Lou Charles, Senior Vice President, Operations
- Nancy Green, Vice President, Finance, Insurance
- Normand Lavallee, Vice President, Project Management Office
- Peter Loran, Executive Vice President, Planning & Operations
- Ross D’Ascanio, Chief Executive Officer, HED Courtier en Assurance Inc.
- Scott Stewart, Vice President, Employee Benefits