ICBC CEO Jon Schubert to resign
The Insurance Corporation of B.C. says CEO Jon Schubert will be leaving his position as head of the public auto insurance provider.
The announcement comes as the B.C. government today (August 16) released an audit that shows ICBC’s costs for top executives ballooned over the past five years.
Since 2007, the report shows, compensation for senior management at the Crown corporation rose by 70 percent to $20.9 million from $12.3 million.
The report also shows $365,000 in signing bonuses was handed out to management employees in amounts of up to $40,000 over that period.
Kevin Falcon, the minister responsible for ICBC, said management and non-unionized staff numbers increased at the corporation in the midst of the global economic crisis.
“That is something that—the combination of more people and higher wages— is both unacceptable and something that is going to change and change very quickly,” Falcon, the finance minister, told reporters today.
However, Falcon did praise ICBC for keeping overall insurance rate increases below an annual average of one percent over the past decade.
The ICBC audit, ordered by Falcon in February, is among a series of reviews the B.C. government has promised to conduct into all of the province’s Crown corporations.
Key recommendations in the audit include returning management compensation costs to 2008 levels and working with the province to improve oversight of the corporation.
ICBC board chair Paul Taylor said the corporation is already taking steps to follow through on all 24 recommendations in the report.
He said ICBC plans to eliminate around 200 staff positions, mostly at the management level, over the next two years.
The corporation is also working to reduce operating costs by $50 million by 2013 and has implemented freezes on management compensation and hiring for many positions.
Taylor said Schubert and the ICBC board made “a mutual decision” for him to step down as CEO.
“In the interest of moving forward with the recommendations contained in the report, the board and Mr. Schubert agreed that this change was in the best interest of the organization,” Taylor told reporters today.
Schubert will leave his position as CEO on November 15 but continue working with ICBC in an advisory role and receive a full salary until June.
Schubert was appointed as president and CEO of ICBC in November 2008.
Mable Elmore, the Opposition New Democrat critic for ICBC, accused the B.C. Liberal government of failing to keep a close watch on the corporation.
“I think that it’s been inexcusable that they’ve allowed this and it really points to their mismanagement of ICBC. They apparently haven’t had a clue that this has been going on,” Elmore told the Straight by phone.
“This is not an isolated incident. This is a story that has repeated through other Crown corporations under the B.C. Liberals—BC Hydro, BC Ferries, CLBC [Community Living B.C.].”
COPE 378, a union representing around 4,600 ICBC employees, also criticized the Liberal government over the report.
“This information didn’t require a months-long review to be presented, it’s something that could’ve been figured out by taking due diligence in an ICBC board meeting,” union vice president Jeff Gillies said in a statement.
Gillies also said the report confirms the union’s longstanding concerns about ICBC’s “unfair compensation structure”.
“The number of managers and their salaries has skyrocketed while the number of positions providing services to the public has decreased. Our wages have stayed stagnant since 2009,” he said.
“We have a situation where you have more managers being paid more to manage fewer people actually doing the work.”