Suzanne Labarge

Suzanne Labarge

Chancellor of McMaster University and Board Member XL Group

Suzanne Labarge is currently Chancellor of McMaster University.

Suzanne Labarge retired from the post of vice-chairman and chief risk officer of RBC Financial Group in Dec. 2004. In that role, she was charged with the strategic management of risk on an enterprise-wide basis and as one of nine members of the group management committee, with setting the overall direction of RBC Financial Group.

A native of Ottawa, Ms. Labarge holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from McMaster University and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.

Ms. Labarge joined Royal Bank in 1971 and held a variety of positions within the bank prior to being appointed an executive officer in 1979. She was the first woman appointed to an executive position in any major Canadian financial institution. She worked in commercial and corporate lending roles in various branches across Canada. She ran Internal Audit in Quebec District before working in the International Division in Canada and overseas until leaving the bank in 1985 to join the federal government as assistant auditor-general.

As assistant auditor-general she was responsible for a report on Financial Management and Control in the Government of Canada.

She joined the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada in 1987 as deputy superintendent, policy. Apart from developing regulatory policies for Canadian financial institutions she was a member of the BIS Committee for Bank Supervision during the time it finalized the Basel I regulatory capital regime as well as the rules governing market risk. In her last position as deputy superintendent, deposit-taking institutions, Ms. Labarge was responsible for all matters relating to deposit-taking institutions.

Ms. Labarge returned to the bank as executive vice-president, Corporate Treasury, in April 1995 with global responsibility for Royal Bank's balance sheet management, funding, liquidity and market risk management. This was the most senior role held by a woman in the Canadian finacial institution sector.

She assumed the role of chief risk officer in October 1998 and was appointed vice-chairman and chief risk officer in February 1999, again the first woman to hold this rank in Canada. During that period she oversaw the development of advanced portfolio management tools for the credit portfolio, the development of policies establishing the risk apetite of the organization as well as the establishment of an Operational Risk group and the strategy for the implementation of Basel II. She was responsible for ensuring that the Board of Directors had the necessary information about the risks taken on in the bank to fulfill their responsibilities. During that time Ms Labarge was actively involved in the creation of CLS, a group created to eliminate the settlement risk in foreign exchange. She was involved with the group of banks that developed the concept and served as the only woman on the board of the company and its bank from its inception until June 2003 when she stepped down after having served as chairman for two years. She was also a board member and former chair of the Risk Management Association. In 2000 she was the first person to be named as the number 1 in the National Post Power 50, the precursor to Canada’s Top 100 most Powerful Women.

Ms. Labarge is a member of the Board of Directors, the Audit Committee and the Risk and Finance Committee of XL Group and is chair of the Nominations, Governance and External Affairs Committee. She is also a trustee for a Canadian family trust and director of associated companies and a member of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Brain Institute. Ms. Labarge served as a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Audit Committee of Coca-Cola Enterprises from 2007 to 2015 and as a member of the Supervisory Board and Risk Committee of Deutsche Bank from 2018 to 2014. She has served as a director and chair of the audit committee of Novelis Inc and was also a member of the Board of the Bank of China, Beijing.

She served on the Board of Governors for McMaster University for twelve years. She was appointed Chancellor of McMaster University in Sept. 2013.

She was granted an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from McMaster University and is a recipient of the Queen’s jubilee medal.