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The Toronto-based Global Risk Institute in Financial Services (GRI) has appointed Sonia Baxendale as its new president and CEO, effective Jan.7, 2019.

Baxendale succeeds Richard Nesbitt who is retiring as an officer and a director, the GRI says in a news release.

The GRI is a forum for ideas, engagement and building capacity for the management of risks in financial services. It is a non-profit, public and private partnership with 32 government and corporate members from asset management, banking, insurance and pension management.

“Sonia has experience at the highest levels of financial services and in many facets of the business that dominate the industry today,” says Tiff Macklem, chairman of the GRI board of directors, in a statement. “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.”

Baxendale is a director of Laurentian Bank, Foresters Financial, SickKids Foundation, and Toronto Artscape Inc.

From July 2017 to January 2018, she served as co-interim president and CEO of Foresters Financial.

Previously, she was president of CIBC Retail Markets where she led the retail and wealth management businesses from 2005 to 2011.

From 1992 to 2011, Baxendale played a key role in developing strategy and direction for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (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, she 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,” says Baxendale in a statement.