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Western University Be Extraordinary The Campaign For Western

Dean Connor (HBA’78) serves as an inspiration for the Canadian business community. As President and CEO, his vision has positioned Sun Life Financial as an industry leader with a focus on digital innovation and enhanced client experiences. And his drive and determination started at Western.


Dean Connor was appointed President & Chief Executive Officer of Sun Life Financial in 2011, leading a global organization to help Clients achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives. He joined Sun Life in 2006 and held a series of executive roles prior to his CEO appointment, including head of Sun Life’s Canadian operations, and Chief Operating Officer. Before Sun Life, Dean enjoyed a successful 28-year career at Mercer Human Resource Consulting, where he rose to President for the Americas.

As CEO, Dean introduced Sun Life’s Four Pillar strategy consisting of a balanced and diversified set of businesses with attractive growth prospects – Canada, the U.S., Asia and Asset Management. In tandem, he set a target of achieving $1.85 billion net income by 2015 – a goal that was surpassed with earnings of $2.25 billion that year. Under Dean’s leadership, Sun Life has tripled earnings across seven Asian markets, launched new wealth and asset management businesses, and completed more than a dozen acquisitions. Cumulative Total Shareholder Return was 138% for the past five years to December 2017, the highest among major Canadian financial institutions.

Dean has now set Sun Life on a transformational journey, the Client 2020 strategy, to deliver a step-change in the Client experience. Enabled by an acceleration in digital and data analytics, this strategy centres the company around Clients, with 25% of the annual incentive plan tied to Client Experience feedback. The changes – large and small – have rallied employees around the world and are driving improvements in Client engagement.

This Client focus and strong financial performance are at the heart of a bold new objective Dean has set out for Sun Life: to be one of the best insurance and asset management companies in the world. He refers to this goal as ambitious but achievable, and one that complements Sun Life’s purpose.

Dean serves on the Board of the Business Council of Canada and the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, as a Trustee for the University Health Network in Toronto, as a member of the Ivey Advisory Board and the Asia Business Leaders Advisory Council. Dean is actively involved in the United Way, and chaired its $105 million 2017 campaign for Toronto and York Region, as well as the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute’s $100 million Where Incredible Happens campaign.

Dean is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. He holds an Honours Business Administration (HBA) from the Ivey School of Business at Western University. Dean was named Canada's Outstanding CEO of the Year® for 2017.

Originally from Hamilton, Dean enjoys the guitar and spending time outdoors - cycling, skiing and playing golf. He and his wife Maris have three adult children.

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