Vancouver Economic Commission is searching for a new CEO

Feb 12 2020, 5:37 pm

The independent City of Vancouver agency that promotes economic growth, and attracts international investment and trade into Vancouver is searching for a new leader.

Vancouver Economic Commission’s (VEC) board of directors has announced the contract of their current CEO, Catherine Warren, will come to an end this month, and they will soon begin the process of recruiting a new CEO.

“It’s always been an exceptional honour to represent and develop Vancouver’s economic diversity and bench-strength, together with VEC’s expert team, committed Board and in our collaborations at home and abroad,” said Warren in a statement.

“As Vancouverites, we can look forward to the decade ahead with confidence. Our business leaders, regional partners and City Council continue to accelerate local economic resilience, world-class innovation and action on the global climate emergency.”

Warren became the CEO of the VEC in Summer 2018, replacing Ian McKay, who left the position to take on the role of CEO of federal investment attraction agency Invest in Canada.

Prior to her time with the CEO, she worked in private and publicly-traded communities and government-business enterprises and founded the international consultancy FanTrust Entertainment Strategies.

Warren is also a member of various independent boards and organizations, including the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which is responsible for the Emmy Awards, where she participates on the nominating committee. As well, in the late-1990s, she served as a senior executive for the Vancouver Aquarium.

“On behalf of the VEC Board and the City of Vancouver, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Catherine for her significant efforts since August 2018, recognizing that her business expertise and global network enhanced VEC at a critical time for Vancouver’s economic prosperity and her work with VEC has built a strong foundation for this transition,” said Sadhu Johnston, the board chair of the VEC and the municipal government’s city manager.

“Under Catherine’s leadership the team achieved a number of major accomplishments, including attracting over $3 billion+ in high impact investment for Vancouver, strengthening economic development ties and attracting funding through federal, provincial and corporate relationships, as well as capacity-building for emerging sectors such as Cleantech, AI, Entertainment and ESports, and social purpose businesses.”

A release states the VEC will continue to “evolve its priorities to align and best support the local economy and collaborate with key regional, national, and international stakeholders,” as well as the municipal government’s emerging Vancouver Plan.

There will also be an effort to “unify” the VEC with Metro Vancouver Regional District’s newly created regional economic development alliance — a regional version of the VEC. The new regional body will report back to the region’s board of directors, with its budget incrementally growing annually, reaching $2.5 million in 2023 for about a dozen full-time staff.

As of last year, the VEC had 17 full-time staff and an annual budget of $3 million.

In the meantime, Eleena Marley, the associate director of business planning and project support for the city, will serve as VEC’s acting CEO until a new permanent leader is found.