7771 Jim Leech (Class of ’68) named the next chancellor of Queen’s University
By Craig Leroux, Senior Communications Officer – Queen’s University
“Jim Leech is a highly accomplished business leader and an alumnus with a long history of service to the university,” says Daniel Woolf, Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, and chair of the advisory committee that led the search for the new chancellor. “Queen’s will benefit immensely from his extensive experience and I personally look forward to working with him over the coming years.”
Chancellor-designate Jim Leech.
The appointment of Chancellor-designate Leech was ratified by the University Council at its annual meeting on Oct. 18. He will officially be installed as Queen’s 14th chancellor during the fall convocation ceremonies in 2014, succeeding Chancellor David Dodge, who announced in June that he would not seek a third term.
“Chancellor Dodge has provided the university with extraordinary service, and will leave a lasting impression on the Queen’s community when his term ends in June of next year,” says Principal Woolf.
Since 2007, Chancellor-designate Leech has served as president and CEO of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, where he oversees the management of $130 billion in assets, representing the pensions of 303,000 working and retired teachers. During each of the past three years of his leadership the organization’s 10-year total returns have been ranked number one in the world among its peers. Earlier this year he announced his retirement from Teachers’, effective January 1, 2014. He previously served as president and CEO of Unicorp Canada Corporation and Union Energy Inc. He recently co-authored the book The Third Rail: Confronting Canada’s Pension Failures, with Jacquie McNish.
Chancellor-designate Leech is a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada and earned an MBA from the Queen’s School of Business in 1973. He currently serves as chair of the Queen’s School of Business advisory board and as a member of its global council. He is also a member of the Initiative Campaign cabinet. From 1984 to 1996 he served as a member of Queen’s Board of Trustees and was a member of University Council from 1980 to 1984.
Deeply involved in a number of charitable causes, Chancellor-designate Leech serves as chair of the board of the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation, a member of the board of the MasterCard Foundation, and was a founding director of Right to Play International. In 2012 he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his involvement with the True Patriot Love Foundation, which supports Canadian military families, and in 2009 was honoured as a Champion of Public Education by the Learning Partnership.
“Queen’s is a remarkable university, respected equally for the exceptional learning environment it provides, and for the high calibre of research, innovation and creativity that happens daily on its campus,” says Chancellor-designate Leech. “I am honored by this opportunity and look forward to being even more involved in the life of the Queen’s community, which brings extraordinary people together to do extraordinary things.”
The chancellor is the university’s highest officer and its ceremonial head. He or she presides over convocations, confers degrees and chairs the annual meetings of the University Council. The chancellor is an ex-officio, voting member of the Board of Trustees and acts as a key ambassador for the University.
Chancellor-elect Leech will join a group of highly esteemed individuals who have served in the position since its creation in 1874. In addition to the current chancellor, David Dodge, a former Governor of the Bank of Canada, previous chancellors include Sir Sanford Fleming, Canada’s foremost railway engineer and the father of standard time, and Sir Robert Borden, the eighth prime minister of Canada who made important steps toward a fully independent Canadian government.