Syd Jackson, a longtime top executive with Toronto-based Manulife Financial Corp., has passed away at age 93, the company announced on Tuesday.

Jackson was born in Regina in 1922 and served in the Canadian army from 1943 to 1945, according to his obituary. After leaving the army, Jackson studied for a Commerce degree at the University of Manitoba and joined the actuarial department of the Manufacturers Insurance Co. of Canada in 1948.

Jackson rose through the ranks at Manulife, becoming president in 1972 and chairman and CEO in 1985. He remained as the insurer’s chairman until 1990 and then as vice chairman until he retired in 1994.

Manulife notes that Jackson championed the insurer’s expansion into wealth management, supported its growth in Asia, and also recruited its first female director, Gail Cook-Bennett, who eventually became Manulife’s chairwoman.

“Syd left an amazing legacy and lived a very full and long life, but his smile, sense of humour, wise advice and perfect moral compass will be sadly missed,” says Donald Guloien, president and CEO of Manulife, in a statement. “More than anything, Syd should be remembered for his personal integrity, and for driving the company to do ‘the right thing’, in all instances.”

Jackson leaves behind three daughters as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His wife, Nancy, died in 1998. A funeral service will be held on April 16 in Toronto.

Photo copyright: CNW Group/Manulife Financial Corp.