Kathy Bardswick to retire from the Co-operators

Kathy Bardswick, president and chief executive of the Co-operators, has announced her retirement from the organisation after 14 years in the role.

During her tenure, the co-operative insurer has expanded through acquisitions as well as organic growth.

Dating back to 1945, the Co-operators is a multi-product insurance and financial services co-operative with CAD $39.9bn in assets. The organisation has over 4,600 employees.

Ms Bardswick, who is leaving at the end of the year, said: “I have worked alongside the very best in the insurance industry and the co-operative sector. I am proud of what we have built together and so very fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead an organisation that provides valuable financial security to Canadians and their communities.”

In 2014, Ms Bardswick was named one of the Top 25 Women of Influence by Women of Influence Inc.

She led the Co-operators in its adoption of more sustainable business practices, which earned it recognition from Aon’s Best Employers in Canada; Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations by Maclean’s and Sustainalytics. In 2013, the Co-operators came on top of Corporate Knights’ list of Most Sustainable Cooperatives in the World.

“Under Kathy’s guidance, the Co-operators has prospered and is recognised today as a leader in the Canadian insurance industry, as well as the co-operative sector,” said John Harvie, chair of the board of directors.

“Her fundamental belief that the world needs organisations that follow ethical business practices, and incorporate sustainable, responsible decision-making, has had a significant impact on our organisation and the communities in which we serve. She has helped to make the world a better place.”

Ms Bardswick is also a member of the insurance sector body ICMIF, the board of the International Co-operative Alliance and chair of Blue Ribbon Commission at the International Co-operative Alliance.