The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System’s Sponsor Corp. board is changing from a co-chair to a chair and vice-chair system.

After discussions on changes to the governance model that took place in 2019, the board voted unanimously to elect Frank Ramagnano and Barry Brown as its first chair and vice-chair, respectively, replacing its legacy arrangement, where the employer sponsor group and the employee sponsor group each chose a co-chair.

“This good news represents a key evolution for the OMERS governance and decision-making model,” said Michael Rolland, chief executive officer of the OMERS Sponsors Corp., in a press release. “This change reinforces the [Sponsor Corp.] board’s fiduciary responsibilities, in that both the chair and vice-chair will formally focus on the best interest of OMERS as a whole, rather than being elected to represent the employee and employer groups’ perspectives.

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“For the first time in its history, the [Sponsor Corp.] board’s leadership has been chosen with the full participation of the entire board. The unanimous support for Frank and Barry underlines their aptitude, experience and close understanding of OMERS.”

Ramagnano joined the OMERS Sponsors Corp. in 2009, rising to co-chair of the board in 2016. For more than 25 years, he’s been a full-time firefighter and became the president of the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters Association in 2014, before which he served as its secretary-treasurer. He’s also been a board member of the Fire Department Credit Union and the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Pension Committee.

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“I am honoured to have been chosen to serve the OMERS Sponsors Corp. in my new role,” he said. “I look forward to working with Barry and our fellow [Sponsors Corp.] board members, our OMERS Administration Corp. colleagues and all OMERS stakeholders to help ensure that, in today’s complex environment, the OMERS pension plan remains affordable, meaningful and sustainable.”

Meanwhile, Brown was appointed as part of the OMERS Sponsors Corp. in 2015, becoming co-chair in 2019. He’s a retired lawyer who practiced employment and labour law at Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP until 2014.

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