Western’s board of governors has selected Keith Gibbons as its new chair, and Sarah Shortreed as vice-chair. The seasoned board members, both Western alumni, officially assume their two-year terms on July 1.
First appointed to the board by the Alumni Association in 2016, Gibbons, BA’76, has served as vice-chair since 2020. A chartered accountant since 1979, he has held several senior leadership roles with global responsibilities, including vice-president of London Life Insurance Company and more recently as president and CEO of McCormick Canada and McCormick Asia Pacific.
“It is truly an honour to become chair of Western’s board of governors. The board has an amazing mix of talent and experience from the private and public sectors as well as from faculty, staff and students,” Gibbons said.
“Since joining the board six years ago, I have had the opportunity to re-acquaint myself with Western. Our new strategic plan – Towards Western At 150 – sets out a blueprint for our future success. This is such an exciting time. We are already seeing elements of the plan come to fruition, and the board is committed to ensuring we are able toachieve the aspirations within the plan. To have a role to play in this, as chair of the board, can only be described as humbling.”
In addition to his involvement at Western, Gibbons has participated on and led boards and cabinets for numerous organizations including the Alzheimer Societies of Ontario and Canada, Youth Opportunities Unlimited, London Economic Development Corporation United Way of London and Middlesex, London Chamber of Commerce, Huron University College, Parkwood Hospital Foundation, St. Joseph’s Health Care London, and Children’s Aid Society of London and Middlesex.
Gibbons follows Rick Konrad, who guided Western’s board of governors as chair over the past two-and-a-half years.
Appointed to the board by the Alumni Association in 2018, Shortreed, BESc’89, is executive vice-president and chief technology officer at ATCO, an engineering, logistics and energy holding company based in Calgary. Through 30 years of professional experience, she has held roles at Bruce Power, BlackBerry, IBM Canada and Union Gas, with expertise in cybersecurity, technology strategy, and complex multi-stakeholder program management and operations. She is a fellow in the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and a former member of the board of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.
“I look forward to working closely with the board chair as we continue to address Western’s strategies and move the agenda forward together,” said Shortreed, adding she is most passionate about pursuing plans that focus on providing a holistic student experience.
“The new strategic plan prioritizes ways students can more strongly engage with each other, with the university and with their studies. University is more than just academics. How do we create something special for students? My experience at Western was pivotal in making me the human being I am today, and I want that to be the case for our students today and in the future.”
In consultation with Western’s senate, Western’s board of governors sets the university’s strategic direction. The board is responsible for overall governance of the university and for all matters related to property and finance, including approval of the university’s operating and capital budgets, oversight of budget expenditures and setting fees. The board also appoints the university’s president and vice-chancellor, vice-presidents, deans and other senior administrators.