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The Co-operators Group Ltd. has appointed Karen Higgins as its new executive vice president and chief financial officer, the Guelph, Ont.-based financial co-operative announced on Thursday.

Her appointment is effective June 1.

Higgins brings over 20 years of experience in senior financial roles within the insurance and financial services industry. She is replacing Bruce West who announced his retirement in February.

Higgins joined the Co-operators in 2008 as vice president of corporate finance. In 2011, she became vice president of finance, property and casualty operations. Later, in 2017, she took on her current role leading the finance team within life operations, overseeing financial analysis and valuation of the organizations, in support of business strategies, initiatives and operations.

“The opportunity to lead the finance organization at The Co-operators is a privilege, particularly as we develop our new four-year organizational strategy,” Higgins says in a statement.

“Succeeding Bruce West in this role is an honour, and after 11 years of such profound leadership, where he built a strong foundation of great people and processes, I have big shoes to fill,” she adds. “I am very excited to carry this forward into the future, while working with our partners to build on our solid performance, seize new opportunities and challenges, and lead our organization to further success.”