The outgoing leader of the Toronto-based Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is moving to the head of the class.
Jim Leech, who's retiring on Dec. 31 as president and CEO of the C$129.5 billion (US$125.8 billion) pension fund, is taking on a new role effective July 1 as chancellor of Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario.
The position is “largely ceremonial,” Mr. Leech said in an interview, but it is the highest appointed position at the university. “It's a little daunting,” he said of becoming only the 14th chancellor since the position was created in 1877. The university was founded in 1841 in a royal charter issued by Queen Victoria. “I'm a little stunned, a little overwhelmed and very, very excited,” he said.
Mr. Leech, whose appointment was ratified by the school's governing council Oct. 18, said he had a “soft spot for the university,” having earned an MBA from the Queen's School of Business in 1973. He's already involved with the university as chairman of the business school's advisory board and as a member of its global council.
The university's current chancellor, David Dodge, announced in June he would not seek a third term. At OTPP, Ron Mock, senior vice president, fixed income and alternative investments, will become OTPP's new president and CEO on Jan. 1.
Mr. Leech expects things to be a bit different at Queen's from the hectic life he's had overseeing a large public pension fund. “When you're at a pension plan, the work is 24/7,” he said. “In this job, I hope at least I'll get the weekends off.”
This article originally appeared in the October 28, 2013 print issue as, "Ontario Teachers chief going back to school".