Our Directors & Management
Board of Directors:
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, Levis QC
Jean Royer, Levis, QC
Paul Taylor, High River, AB
Executive Leadership Group:
Founder and Vice Chairman
Scott Tannas is the Founder and Vice-Chairman 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 one hundred acquisitions and countless strategic initiatives, all while fostering a corporate culture around Western’s Guiding Principles of Truthfulness, Fairness, Value and Loyalty.
Today, Western is a diversified financial services organization, with more than 1,900 employees providing more than 800,000 customers with insurance 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, including multi -year winners of Profit 100 and Alberta Fast 50 awards for business growth, as well as Top Employer honors for exceptional practices in Human Resources. In 2003, Scott accepted the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, dedicating the honor to the men and women of Western, and their steadfast support of the vision and mission of the Company.
On April 15, 2011 Western 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 1038%. Scott and his management team remain committed to growing Western and creating value for their new owner for many years to come.
Scott is a director of a number of private and public businesses, including Western and its federally regulated subsidiaries, Western Financial Insurance Company 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.
In addition to his roles with Western, Scott also serves as a member of the Senate of Canada, a position to which he was appointed to in 2013.
Scott Tannas is a proud native Albertan who was born and raised in High River Alberta, where he continues to reside with his wife Taryn and their four children.
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.
Born and raised in Quebec City, Kenny moved to Montreal in 1986 and remained there until his move to Alberta to join Western Financial Group in 2011. Kenny now lives on acreage in Southern Alberta with his family.
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. As a member of the Executive Leadership Group, James also provides strategic input and direction on a number of key business decisions and initiatives.
Prior to joining Western, James 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.
James 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.
He 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.
- Doug Bennett, Executive Vice President, Business Systems & Technology
- Grant Ostir, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Group Insurance Solutions & Western Life Assurance
- Joe Sirianni, Executive Vice President Sales, Network
- Rod Cunniam, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Direct Distribution & Interim President, Western Financial Insurance Company
Senior Management Group:
- Blake Reichert, Senior Regional Vice President Sales, Alberta
- Dave Pettigrew, President and Chief Executive Officer, Harvard Western Insurance
- Deanne Magnus, Vice President, Finance, Corporate
- Denise Lang, Regional Vice President Sales, Manitoba
- Greg McGill, Senior Regional Vice President Sales, British Columbia
- James Hall, Regional Vice President Sales, Kootenays
- Jean-Louis Saurel, President HED Courtier en Assurance Inc.
- Justin Friesen, Vice President, Commercial Insurance
- 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