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Earl Orser, a former president and chief executive officer of London Life Insurance Co. who also worked for a number of other prominent Canada companies, has died. He was 76.

Mr. Orser died Sunday following a battle with cancer.

Labelled an "outsider" in a company that usually promoted from within, Mr. Orser led London Life for nearly two decades, when the company's assets grew from $3.9-billion to more than $16-billion.

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London Life was taken over by the Great-West Lifeco Inc. in 1997, when Mr. Orser was described in citations as a "consummate businessman" and named a member of the Order of Canada.

Before joining London Life, Mr. Orser held senior positions with Molson and Air Canada. He also served on the boards of some of the country's best-known firms, including Brascan and Spar Aerospace. His community work was as expansive, as he raised money for many organizations, chaired many boards and wrote a landmark study for Ontario's NDP government in the early 1990s advocating the consolidation of London hospitals.

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