UBC board of governors elects Nancy McKenzie as new chair

The University of British Columbia is pleased to announce the appointment of Nancy McKenzie as the new chair of its board of governors.

McKenzie was first appointed to the UBC board of governors in 2017 and was previously chair of the finance committee. She currently serves as a corporate director for Coast Capital Savings.

“It is a privilege to be the new chair of the UBC board of governors and to be working with colleagues, the president, and the administration in carrying out our responsibilities for the stewardship of this outstanding and globally recognized research university,” said McKenzie. “UBC provides the highest standards of academic and research excellence, and as chair, I am committed at all times to acting in the best interests of the university and its community.”

As specified by the University Act, board members elected McKenzie as the new chair of the board of governors. She succeeds former Chair Michael Korenberg, who stepped down from the role last month. McKenzie thanked Korenberg for his contributions to a wide range of initiatives under the UBC Strategic Plan, including sustainability initiatives, investments in teaching and learning, as well as student financial aid, and increasing accountability and improving the governance of the board and its committees.

“I’d like to extend my gratitude to my fellow board members for their vote of confidence in my leadership,” she added. “I would also like to thank Vice-Chair Sandra Cawley for stepping in as interim board chair and guiding the board through this period of transition.”

As the new chair, McKenzie said her focus will be to build on and support a number of key priorities of the board and the administration. These priorities include commitments to academic and research excellence, to equity, inclusion and diversity, to sustainability and climate action, to Indigenous reconciliation and engagement, and to student health and wellness. She is also committed to working closely with other governors and the administration to achieve best practices in governance, transparency and accountability, at the board level and in committees.

“I am truly looking forward to working with what I believe is one of the most diverse boards in Canada, not only in terms of career backgrounds but also in terms of gender, ethnicity, culture and lived experiences,” said McKenzie. “With so much uncertainty and risk in the world today, it is paramount that we foster a culture of collaboration and respectful challenge by sharing our unique perspectives, experiences and expertise. Through actively listening to one another and ensuring that everyone has a voice at the table, we can achieve strong governance together.”

McKenzie is a former senior executive with 30 years of management and board experience, having provided strong leadership in an array of diverse and complex operating environments. Her experience includes leading strategic planning and execution, team leadership, creating culture, risk management, operational excellence, governance, restructuring, and acquisitions and divestitures. She was chief financial officer for Seaspan ULC from 2005 to 2017, during which time she was part of the executive leadership team and responsible for corporate services functions, and part of the team that won the national shipbuilding program for B.C. Prior to that, she held progressively senior roles in transportation, manufacturing and industrial equipment industries.

At UBC, McKenzie also serves as director of UBC Investment Management Trust Inc., and is a member of a number of committees, including employee relations, executive, presidential reappointment, property, sustainability and climate action, and neighbourhoods liaison, as well as working groups including academic renewal, finance strategy and strategic plan implementation advisory.

“Nancy McKenzie has been a tremendous asset to the board since her appointment in 2017,” said UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Santa Ono. “I look forward to working with her as we strive towards the university’s vision as set out in the UBC Strategic Plan—inspiring people, ideas and actions for a better world.”

“Not only is Nancy McKenzie deeply passionate about the UBC community, but she is a strong role model committed to anti-racism and anti-discrimination,” said UBC Chancellor Steven Lewis Point. “This is especially critical at this moment when we collectively need to advance the actions of the university, to engage in learning and provide strong leadership. I look forward to working with her and the board in helping drive forward UBC’s strategic priorities.”

UBC is pleased to welcome McKenzie to her new position.

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