New voice at the top

The first executive appointment under new management at Manulife bespeaks a departure from the past. David Paterson, the face of General Motors in Canada as the automaker’s main spokesperson, will become responsible for public affairs at Manulife on June 1. As such, Paterson will come in over Jennifer Rowe, vice president, corporate affairs. Rowe will focus on employee communications and engagement.

Interesting that new Manulife CEO Donald Guloien, who replaced Dominic D’Alessandro just last week, would pick public affairs as the first place to make his mark. To me, this means the beginning of the shift in the corporate culture of Manulife as the company moves away from one-man rule to a more modern management style. “It’s important that it does change because it has become synonymous with Dominic. A company has to be more than a single person, more than an iconic CEO. That’s Don’s challenge, to make sure that happens, that it is a more broadly based leadership and a more broadly perceived strong management team,” Diane Bean, executive vice-president, human resources, told me during my research on the book.

Paterson’s appointment sends a signal that Guloien is wasting no time putting his stamp on the place.

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