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Laurentian board chair resigning, says he wants to avoid conflict

Jeff Bangs’ partner Céleste Boyer has been named university’s general counsel
Jeff Bangs, chair of the Laurentian University board of governors, speaks at a Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce luncheon Nov. 10, 2022

Citing the need to avoid the appearance of a personal conflict of interest and his own health concerns, Laurentian University’s board of governors chair Jeff Bangs said he will step down from the role at the end of his current term.

Bangs’ term as Laurentian’s board chair is up on June 30

“Aside from needing to strike a new balance between my business and volunteer commitments, two main factors have led me to this decision; the successful appointment of my partner as the University’s general counsel, and concerns related to my health,” said Bangs, in a press release issued June 2.

“To me, given the level of interaction between the chair, the board and the general counsel, it is not appropriate for me to continue in my role. Several months ago, before that search began, I declared a conflict and left the oversight of that search to a committee led by Interim President (Sheila) Embleton. While some have suggested to me that a way can be found to stay on in some capacity, I do not ever want to put the university or the new general counsel in a real or perceived conflict of interest.

“I’ve also recently had a wake-up call about my own health that will require my full attention in the coming weeks and months. I do feel confident with my prognosis and I'm confident I'll be as good as new, soon enough. Until then, I’ll be focusing on my health.” 

The university’s new general counsel is Céleste Boyer, Embleton reported in her written report at the Laurentian senate’s May meeting.

“You will have seen the announcement that Céleste Boyer will be coming back to Laurentian, after some time at Canada Post, as general counsel, on June 12,” Embleton said, in the report. 

Boyer’s LinkedIn profile said she was legal counsel at Laurentian from 2017 to 2021, and interim general counsel at Laurentian from August 2021 to March 2022. It lists her as being legal counsel for Canada Post from February 2022 until the present.

Bangs joined the board in December of 2021 and became chair shortly thereafter. A press release said Bangs led the board through a critical period as Laurentian University exited the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) process.

During his tenure, the university saw significant transformation, the press release said.

Bangs led the renewal of the university’s board of governors, successfully passed a new budget for the current fiscal year, and initiated both the organizational transformation and strategic planning processes to implement recommendations provided by Ontario’s auditor general and as required by the creditor-approved Plan of Arrangement.

The press release said Bangs leaves his role having made a profound impact on the future of Laurentian University and is optimistic about what the institution may achieve in the future. 

“I am confident that I am leaving the board in good hands with people whose focus is on building a stronger and more transparent future for Laurentian,” he said. “I am committed to ensuring a smooth transition and to that end, will remain available as a resource to the Board and to the university for as long as necessary.”

A process is now underway to select a new chair.



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