Canadian financial co-op Desjardins Group elected five members to its board of directors on 30 March.
Desjardins is the largest federation of credit unions in North America with seven million members and 271 local credit unions, also known as caisses. Its new board includes 21 members, seven women and 14 men.
Louis Babineau, chair of the board of Caisse Desjardins de Sainte-Foy and a professor at the UQAR’s school of management and Stéphane Trottier, entrepreneur in occupational ergonomics and director at Caisse populaire Desjardins de Trillium, were re-elected on the board.
The three new board members are Lisa Baillargeon, chair of the board of Caisse Desjardins Charles-LeMoyne and professor and associate dean of academic affairs at ESG UQAM; Kateri C Jourdain, director at Caisse Desjardins de Sept-Îles and the general manager of a real estate company; and Marie-Eve Tremblay, chair of the Board of Caisse Desjardins du Quartier-Latin and general manager of a firm specialising in organisational and sustainable development.
Ms Jourdain is the organisation’s first board member from the First Nations communities.
Two external directors were also appointed to the Desjardins board on 18 April, Johanne Charbonneau and Marie-Josée Lamothe.
A corporate director, Ms Charbonneau is former CFO of CBC/Radio-Canada (2001-2009), International Development Research Centre (1998-2001) and Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (1983-1998).
Ms Lamothe is president of Tandem International, whose mission is to support businesses with the digital development of their business model. She was managing director at Google Canada and prior to that, a senior manager with L’Oréal. She is a professor of management at McGill University and a corporate director.
Katia Cyr Director at Caisse Desjardins du Nord de Sherbrooke was also elected on Desjardins’ board of ethics and professional conduct. She is an entrepreneur who owns a number of restaurants and has a background in public relations and advertising.
“I’m proud of the evolution of Desjardins Group’s governance, which confirms that we’re a modern organisation with the ability to adapt to our environment while remaining true to our co-operative nature,” said Desjardins Group president and CEO Guy Cormier.
“The new rules for electing members to our board of directors and board of ethics and professional conduct allow us to not only draw on the experience and expertise of our re-elected officers, but also bring in new talent from our caisse boards of directors or from different areas entirely thanks to the addition of two external director positions.”
“With these five new directors, the Desjardins Group board of directors is another step closer to achieving gender parity, which our management committee and our board of ethics and professional conduct have already done. In an era that recognises how greater diversity improves business performance, Desjardins has, in just one year, taken a giant leap forward for the benefit of our members and clients,” he added.