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After a four-month search, Sun Life Financial Inc. SLF-T has landed Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board’s Tim Deacon as its new chief financial officer.

The insurer announced Monday that, effective April 8, Mr. Deacon will replace Sun Life CFO Manjit Singh, who was appointed president of Sun Life Asia in December.

Sun Life’s executive search began last year when Sun Life Asia president Ingrid Johnson stepped down in November to take a newly created position as vice-chair of strategic partnerships. A month later Mr. Singh took on that additional responsibility, and will continue in those two roles until Mr. Deacon assumes his new position next month.

Mr. Deacon – who will also become an executive vice-president and a member of Sun Life’s global executive team – is currently the CFO of Teachers, which he joined in 2021. He is the second member of the top executive team to leave the $247.5-billion pension fund in recent months, after chief investment officer Ziad Hindo departed at the end of last year.

Teachers also restructured its real estate arm, bringing a team of investing professionals from subsidiary Cadillac Fairview in-house, and hiring Pierre Cherki to lead it. That came after Cadillac Fairview’s long-time head, John Sullivan, retired in November.

The year Mr. Deacon started at Teachers, the fund reported an 11.1-per-cent gain on its investments. But volatile markets upended by high interest rates and inflation have made it harder to sustain consistent returns in the past two years.

Teachers earned 4 per cent in 2022 and only 1.9 per cent last year – a disappointing result that has chief executive officer Jo Taylor looking to refocus Teachers’ portfolio.

In a separate memo, Teachers announced Mr. Deacon’s departure, stating his last day of work will be April 5. It has not named a successor.

“Tim has made a very strong contribution in his time at Ontario Teachers’, overseeing impactful transformation initiatives within and beyond the finance division and serving as an experienced and accessible executive team member and leader to colleagues across our offices,” Mr. Taylor said in a statement.

Monday’s announcement marks a return to the insurance industry for Mr. Deacon, who spent 14 years with Canada’s largest insurer, Manulife Financial Corp., before joining Teachers.

Now, Mr. Deacon will oversee Sun Life’s Finance organization including finance, tax, capital management, investor relations and strategic financial initiatives. He will directly report to CEO Kevin Strain, who held the CFO position at Sun Life for five years prior to moving into his current role in 2021.

“With financial discipline as one of Sun Life’s strategic priorities, I’m confident Tim will continue advancing this focus, while accelerating our growth aspirations and innovation in our Finance function,” Mr. Strain said in a statement.

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