David Johnston has retired from seven years of representing the Queen but says his work to build a better Canada will continue at the country's largest professional-services firm.
Deloitte Canada will announce on Tuesday that the 76-year-old Mr. Johnston, who recently stepped down as Canada's 28th governor-general, has been hired as an executive adviser helping to prepare clients for the future.
Mr. Johnston's 2010 installation address was titled "A Smart and Caring Nation" and his job at Deloitte will build on that, he said in a telephone interview Monday.
"It really has to do with subjects dear to my heart about Canada," said Mr. Johnston, "how we take this blessed country of ours and not be complacent about where we stand, and constantly work to make it smarter and caring."
The work at Deloitte will be tailored to match the interests of the former university president whose lengthy list of published works includes books about computers, technology and the law.
Mr. Johnston said he will provide advice about innovation, inclusiveness, talent development and leadership, and the role those things play in economic growth. He will work with private-sector and government clients as well as the staff of Deloitte itself.
A Deloitte official said the position will not involve government lobbying.
Mr. Johnston said the job will consume a quarter to a third of his working hours. The rest of his time will be spent on "pro bono" activities such as chairing the Rideau Hall Foundation, a charity he established in 2012 to mobilize people and resources to realize the shared aspirations of Canadians.
The prospect of working for Deloitte excites him, he said, because the firm embraces a broad ambit of what are considered to be professional services. That includes ensuring that the education system turns out graduates who can contribute successfully to the economy, and that people are not left behind as the pace of change accelerates, said Mr. Johnston.
"I am a great believer in collaborative relationships," he said, "and it seemed to me that I would be able to work hard and reinforce some of those collaborative relationships in this position."
Frank Vettese, the managing partner and chief executive of Deloitte Canada, said the firm expects Mr. Johnston to engage with business and community leaders and to help the company develop the next generation of top Canadian talent.
"His personal passions around the future of Canada, growth, productivity, our people, [as well as] a lot of the work he's been doing around building a caring nation," said Mr. Vettese, "all of those things were very much seen as in alignment with some of our biggest objectives."
Other former governors-general have taken on significant jobs after their vice-regal terms ended. Michaëlle Jean, for instance, is the current secretary-general of the Organsation Internationale de la Francophonie. But Ms. Jean is 17 years younger than the man who succeeded her.
Mr. Johnston grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., went to university at the age of 18 and became a law professor immediately after earning his law degree. He was dean of the law school at the University of Western Ontario at the age of 33, was named president at McGill University in Montreal in 1979 and then served an 11-year term as president of the University of Waterloo starting in 1999.
"I have never really worked, so I don't know how to retire," he said, making jest of his long stint in academia. "Deloitte offered to me a chance to do what I guess I have been doing all my life, and continue it, and I was just delighted that that opportunity came along."