June 10, 2020 / 10:49 PM / 24 days ago

Canadian proxy firm Kingsdale's Wes Hall pushes for diversity with new group

FILE PHOTO: Wes Hall, chief executive of Kingsdale Shareholder Services, speaks at his office in Toronto, Ontario, September 28, 2015. REUTERS/John Tilak/File Photo

(Reuters) - Wes Hall, a prominent Canadian businessman and chairman of proxy advisory firm Kingsdale Advisors, on Wednesday launched a group to fight racism and improve the representation of black people in boardrooms and executive suites across the country.

Hall will co-chair the group, which consists of business leaders, with Victor Dodig, Canadian lender CIBC’s (CM.TO) chief executive officer; Prem Watsa, CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (FFH.TO); and Rola Dagher, CEO of Cisco Systems Inc’s (CSCO.O) Canadian unit.

As part of an initiative labeled "BlackNorth," the group will push for wider representation of black people in boardrooms and executive suites across Canada, according to a statement from Kingsdale Advisors. (bwnews.pr/3cUL1Ro)

“As a first step, the BlackNorth Initiative will ask corporate leaders across Canada to pledge their organizations to policies and specific targets to end systemic anti-Black systemic racism,” Hall said.

The move comes after George Floyd, a black man, was killed in police custody, rousing worldwide protests against racial injustice.

“The time for passing the buck is over,” Fairfax’s Watsa said. “As business leaders in Canada, we have a responsibility to not only recognize that anti-Black systemic racism exists in this country but also take meaningful steps to end it.”

Reporting by Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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