Sonia Baxendale Appointed President and CEO of the Global Risk Institute in Financial Services

Sonia Baxendale headshot

Succeeds Richard Nesbitt in the top role of leading think tank 

The Global Risk Institute in Financial Services (GRI) today announced the appointment of Sonia Baxendale as its new President and CEO, effective January 7, 2019.  Ms. Baxendale succeeds Richard Nesbitt who is retiring as an officer and a director.

“Sonia has experience at the highest levels of financial services and in many facets of the business that dominate the industry today,” said Tiff Macklem, Chair of the GRI Board of Directors.

Her financial services background combined with her experience as a corporate director will bring perspective and leadership to further grow GRI’s impact and build on our recent successes.

Sonia Baxendale is a Director of Laurentian Bank, Foresters Financial, SickKids Foundation, and Toronto Artscape Inc.  Sonia was previously the President of CIBC Retail Markets where she led the Retail and Wealth Management businesses from 2005 to 2011.  From 1992 to 2011, Sonia played a key role in developing strategy and direction for CIBC and held various leadership roles including Senior Executive Vice-President, CIBC Wealth Management, Executive Vice-President, Asset Management, Card Products and Collections, and Executive Vice-President of Global Private Banking and Investment Management Services.  Prior to CIBC, Sonia held various positions with American Express Canada and Saatchi & Saatchi.

I am excited to join GRI to continue the excellent work with world leading institutions, government, regulators and academia in ensuring Canada continues to leverage its risk capability as a competitive advantage,” said Sonia.  “Partnering in research and education will allow us to maintain a sound financial system in an increasingly complex world of global risks.

Sonia was named one of the “Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada” for three years in a row and then joined the ranks of the Top 100 Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2000, she was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto, where she was named University of Toronto, Victoria College Alumni of Distinction in 2017.  From July 2017 to January 2018, Sonia served as Co-Interim President and CEO of Foresters Financial.

“Under Richard’s leadership, the quantity, quality and reach of GRI’s applied research has grown substantially and its risk education extends from graduate university programs to boards of directors,” added Tiff Macklem.  “On behalf of GRI’s Board, I would like to thank Richard for his substantial and lasting contribution to our organization.”


About GRI: 

The Global Risk Institute is the leading forum for ideas, engagement and building capacity for the management of risks in financial services. We are a non-profit, public and private partnership with 33 government and corporate members from asset management, banking, insurance and pension management. In addition, the institute’s National Pension Hub, which serves as a Canadian centre for pension knowledge and research, has 19 members including major pension plans, accounting firms, consultancies and public corporations. GRI’s goal is to develop fresh perspectives on emerging risks, to engage members, and to enhance risk-management skills. Our activities support academics, corporations, policy makers and regulators. We take a global view of the risks facing the financial services industry from our base in Toronto, Canada.

Media contact:

Graeme Harris,  Public Affairs Advisor,
Global Risk Institute in Financial Services

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +1-416-402-7050