Great-West announce operational shakeup following disappointing Q3 earnings

by David Keelaghan11 Nov 2016
Following on from disappointing earnings results in the third quarter, Great-West Lifeco has announced a shakeup among its major insurance subsidiaries. Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life will now structure Canadian operations around two business units – individual and group customers.  

Changes will ring out at the executive level as a result, with three new appointments to facilitate the growth of the new individual and group units.

Having distinguished himself as the head of Group Life & Health with Great-West Life and London Life, Jeff Macoun has been named as EVP for Group Customers. He brings a wealth of experience to the role, with more than 30 years in the insurance industry to his name.

New EVP for Individual Customers, Gerry Hassett brings similar pedigree. Having started his career at Irish Life in 1987, he rose through the ranks to eventually become managing director for Irish Life Financial Services. 

The other major development announced by GWL is the creation of a customer marketing function that seeks to improve the customer experience using the latest digital innovations. Tasked with running that side of the business is new EVP for Strategic Customer Marketing, Stéphane Dubreuil.  The newly created role will mean overseeing the expansion of GWL’s capabilities in digital, data and innovation. Dubreuil joined the organization in 2015 as SVP, Market Development & Strategy.

Addressing the appointments, President and Chief Operating Officer, Canada, Stefan Kristjanson outlined that the evolution of the business meant Great West needed to be willing to change too in order to stay at the forefront of the industry. "The changes we are announcing today build on our core strengths and will position us to continue to meet the changing needs of both advisors and customers," he said.

Last week the insurance and financial services giant announced its Q3 results, which followed a similar downward trend as the rest of 2016. Net earnings attributable to common shareholders declined to $674 million, compared to $720 million for Q3 2015.

In the first nine months of the year, meanwhile, net earnings are down to $1.97 billion, which compares unfavourably to the same period in 2015 when the total was $2.08 billion.
Responding to the results, Paul Mahon, president and CEO, Great-West Lifeco, pointed to some outside forces that have not helped the company in 2016, which meant a commitment to innovation would be even more pronounced heading forward.

“The year-over-year decline in our third quarter earnings was attributable to the decline in the British pound, resulting from Brexit,” he said. “Excluding the impact of the currency change, our UK businesses performed very well. Across our organization, we continue to make significant technology investments in support of future growth, which has a short-term impact on earnings.”

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