Guelph, Ont.-based The Co-operators Group Ltd. on Tuesday announced the appointment of Rob Wesseling as president and CEO, effective Dec. 1.

Currently executive vice president (EVP), property and casualty (P&C) operations, Co-operators General Insurance Co., and chief operating officer (COO), The Sovereign General Insurance Co., Wesseling spent the last 19 years with The Co-operators in increasingly senior leadership positions. He was appointed COO of The Sovereign General in May 2007 and, in November 2011, he assumed the additional role of EVP, National P&C for all P&C operations across the group of companies.

“Rob has the ability and desire to lead our organization while positively impacting the co-operative movement. He’s an inspirational and innovative leader who will ensure The Co-operators relevance, strength and sustainability long term,” said John Harvie, chairperson of The Co-operators board of directors, in a statement.

Wesseling’s current involvements include his leadership in flood resiliency in Canada. He has been instrumental in engaging all levels of government, the academic community, and various industries, to develop a complete solution for Canadians. He is an acting member of the International Co-operative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) Board of Directors and Executive Committee; member of the ICMIF’s Development Committee; and, founding director and member of Partners for Action Advisory Board. He holds a B.A. with distinction in Theoretical Mathematics and MSc. of Applied Statistics from the University of Guelph where he graduated in 1996. He obtained a Chartered Insurance Professional designation in 1999.

Wesseling replaces Kathy Bardswick, current president and CEO, The Co-operators Group Ltd., who announced her retirement in February 2016. Bardswick will be retiring Dec. 1, when Wesseling assumes the role.

Prior to his post, Wesseling will re-locate to Quebec where he will be immersed in a French language program for approximately eight weeks to enhance his French language abilities.

The Co-operators leadership team will be developing a more detailed transition plan in the coming weeks.

The Co-operators is a Canadian co-operative with more than $44 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products.

Photo copyright: The Co-operators/CWN