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Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) President Warren (Smokey) Thomas speaks to reporters at Queens Park in Toronto, on Jan. 21, 2019.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

OPSEU Pension Trust, the pension plan for Ontario provincial government employees, has lost the chairman of its board just two weeks after the departure of its CEO.

Tim Hannah has left his role after six months as chairman, the pension, known as OPTrust, has confirmed. Spokeswoman Claire Prashaw directed all questions to the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which was responsible for appointing Mr. Hannah as chairman. Neither Warren “Smokey” Thomas, OPSEU president, nor Mr. Hannah have returned calls and e-mails from The Globe and Mail.

The change at the top continues what seems to be a tumultuous time for the pension plan, which has assets of $20-billion and serves 92,000 active and retired members. Hugh O’Reilly left as president and chief executive in March after a four-month “personal leave” for undisclosed reasons. Ms. Prashaw declined to discuss Mr. O’Reilly’s departure, which was announced in a news release March 18 as occurring “immediately, to pursue other interests.” Mr. O’Reilly has not responded to calls and messages from The Globe.

Chief financial officer Doug Michael, a nine-year veteran of the pension, will continue as interim president and CEO, a role he took on in late 2018 when Mr. O’Reilly went on leave. OPTrust’s board has formed a committee to conduct a search for a permanent CEO, OPTrust said.

OPTrust’s next CEO will be its fourth in just more than seven years. In April, 2012, OPTrust fired CEO Stephen Griggs, who went on to allege in a wrongful dismissal lawsuit that he was terminated for trying to rein in “lavish” spending in the plan’s private-equity group. The lawsuit was later settled on undisclosed terms. Mr. Griggs’ successor, Bill Hatanaka, announced his departure after 18 months in the position.

Mr. O’Reilly was OPTrust’s outside counsel and a former partner at Torys LLP when the pension chose him as its CEO in December, 2014. In the news release announcing his departure last month, OPTrust credited him with the introduction of OPTrust Select, “the first new defined benefit plan in Ontario in a generation.”

Mr. Hannah, a senior environmental officer with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, became chair of OPTrust’s board Nov. 3 of last year. OPSEU and the Ontario provincial government co-sponsor the plan, and each can appoint five members. The two entities take turns appointing the board chair, and OPSEU has the right to select Mr. Hannah’s replacement on the board, as well as his replacement as chairman, to serve out the remainder of a two-year term.

OPTrust finished 2018 fully funded, it said, when measuring its assets and future contributions versus the estimate of benefits it must pay. The plan’s portfolio returned 1 per cent in 2018, a year in which most global stock indexes, including Canadian ones, declined.

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