BC Ferries’ new president and chief executive will be Nicolas Jimenez, who is leaving Insurance Corp. of B.C. (ICBC) after 20 years.
The move to BC Ferries will see Jimenez, who has been president and chief executive at ICBC since 2018, again working with Joy MacPhail.
MacPhail is the board chair at BC Ferries and earlier served as chair of ICBC when Jimenez was president.
Phil Leong, ICBC’s chief financial officer will be serving as interim president and chief executive for that organization.
Jimenez leaves ICBC on Feb. 3 and joins BC Ferries on March 6.
He won the job at BC Ferries following an international executive search. “He was far and away the best candidate,” MacPhail said in an interview Tuesday.
This will be a lateral move for Jimenez, she said. “He will be making exactly the same compensation he made at ICBC.”
Compensation aligns with the new executive compensation plan for chief executives set out by the BC Ferry Authority.
Jimenez will be making more than $100,000 less than the previous president of BC Ferries, Mark Collins, whose contract, which had been due to run to 2026, was ended abruptly last July.
At ICBC, Jimenez’s total compensation was $499,335, including a salary, of $422,016, in the 2021-2022 year.
Collins’ total compensation for the fiscal year ending March 2022 was $635,095, including a salary of $534,589.
MacPhail said last year that it was time for “renewal, fresh ideas.”
Jimenez arrives at BC Ferries as it continues to deal with similar challenges it was facing last year, including staffing shortages in critical positions, service interruptions, complaints about waits from travellers on Gulf Island routes and renewal of the fleet.
Jimenez comes with a track record of success and is the “right leader at the right time for BC Ferries,” MacPhail said in a statement.
“I know he will bring fresh ideas, innovative solutions and a renewed focus on the customer experience.”
She described Jimenez as customer-focused and a “thoughtful strategic leader who is committed to enhancing safety, reliability and affordability.”
He holds a master’s degree in public administration from both Harvard University and the University of Victoria.
Jimenez will replace Jill Sharland, who has been interim president since July. She will return to her previous role as BC Ferries' vice-president and chief financial officer.
Jimenez joined ICBC in 2003, holding senior positions in insurance, corporate development, driver licensing and road safety.
He previously worked in strategy and public sector management with organizations including the Canadian Parliament, the federal Privy Council Office, BC Hydro and IBM Global Business Services.
Jimenez volunteers on the boards of United Way British Columbia, the Business Council of BC and the Canadian National Geographic Enterprises management board, according to his profile on the ICBC website.
ICBC board chair Catherine Holt said: “Under Nicolas’ leadership, ICBC has overcome significant challenges to deliver one of the most affordable and care-based insurance models in Canada.
“He has also developed a supportive and collaborative culture, which will help ensure ICBC has a stable but innovative future.”
Jimenez took the top job at ICBC in the same year that now-Premier David Eby called its massive financial losses a dumpster fire and promised major reforms.
In 202o, the government announced it would cut premiums by 20 per cent the following year and bring in a new model under a no-fault “enhanced care” auto insurance, which is now in place.
Jimenez had been “very successful” at implementing the government’s policies and legislation with little pushback and little disruption, MacPhail said.
In December, it was announced that ICBC was applying to the BC Utilities Commission for a two-year rate freeze on basic auto insurance to help people deal with inflation.