Tuesday January 17, 2023 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated 11:50 am]
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
After an international search for a new president and CEO, BC Ferries stuck close to home in selecting Nicolas Jimenez, who is presently the President and CEO of the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC).
Jimenez steered ICBC through many changes in the past few years, arguably modernizing and streamling the organization with several structural reforms. He has been president and CEO of ICBC since late 2017, having first joined the corporation in 2003.
“Nicolas Jimenez is the right leader at the right time for BC Ferries,” said BC Ferries Board Chair Joy MacPhail, who is one of the longest still-serving NDP heavy-hitters in the province.
MacPhail describes Jimenez as “a change leader with a proven track record of success”. She says he is “customer focused with a deep commitment to financial accountability and rate affordability”.
He previously worked in the public sector for the federal government and BC Hydro.
Delivering for the political elite:
While at ICBC, Jimenez wrestled the ICBC “dumpster fire” to the ground (at the direction of then Attorney General, now Premier, David Eby) and has managed to not only lower ICBC basic insurance rates in the last few years, but also offer ICBC rebates, and he recently headed up the work to allow the premier to announce a two-year freeze on ICBC basic rates.
Political loyalty runs deep in this appointment. The next BC provincial election is set for just under two years from now, in October 2024.
Premier Eby has stated many times that he won’t call an early election ahead of the date that is legislatively set by a four-year interval. The last BC provincial election was in October 2020.
Shifting to ‘renewal’:
BC Ferries fired its top executive Mark Collins last July after a difficult period plagued by staffing challenges, sailing cancellations and pandemic losses. Collins seemed to take a straightforward business approach to running the ferry service, perhaps not sharing the broader visions of the government of the day.
Collins was replaced by Jill Sharland, who has since been carrying the role of interim CEO.
Last summer, the ferry service said it fired Collins to make room for “renewal” and “fresh ideas” after a challenging period.
“BC Ferries is facing a series of challenges,” says MacPhail in today’s BC Ferries news release. Those challenges are outlined as staffing shortages, service interruptions and fleet revitalization.
“I know he will bring fresh ideas, innovative solutions and renewed focus on the customer experience,” said MacPhail about Jimenez as the incoming CEO.
A further aspect of the expectation is the contribution of ferry service to the vibrancy of coastal communities, said MacPhail.
Compensation for the new President and CEO will conform with the BC Ferry Authority’s Executive Compensation Plan, the corporation said today.
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