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Manulife Financial CEO Don Guloien (R) and Senior Executive Vice President, Business Development & General Counsel Jean-Paul Bisnaire (L) at Manulife's annual general meeting of shareholders in Toronto, May 3, 2012.MARK BLINCH/Reuters

Manulife Financial Corp.'s man in charge of finding deals, Jean-Paul Bisnaire, is planning to retire next year after almost a decade in the job.

Mr. Bisnaire, known mostly by his initials J-P, is Manulife's senior executive vice president of corporate affairs and general counsel. His responsibilities include overseeing business development internationally, as well as law, compliance, internal audit, information technology, public affairs and corporate secretary.

Before taking the job at Manulife in 2004, Mr. Bisnaire was senior corporate law partner of the firm Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, where his reputation for mergers and acquisitions made the firm a top choice on big takeover deals such as the hostile bid for Chapters Inc. by Gerry Schwartz's Trilogy Retail Enterprises LP, and BCE Inc.'s $6.32-billion repurchase of a stake in Bell Canada. He spent 24 years with the firm.

While Manulife's big $15-billion purchase of John Hancock Financial Services Inc. came in April of 2004, before Mr. Bisnaire joined the company, he was there during several major deals.

There was even speculation back in 2009 that Mr. Bisnaire might succeed former chief executive Dominic D'Alessandro, a post which ultimately went to the company's current CEO, Donald Guloien.

No announcements are expected to be made as to who will replace him for some months yet.

(Jacqueline Nelson is a Globe and Mail Financial Services Reporter.)

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