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Amrop Knightsbridge Human Capital

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)



Company Information

Amrop Knightsbridge continues to build upon its specialty as a retained executive search firm. Our mandates are middle to senior level executives including Chief Executive Officers, Presidents, Vice-Presidents, General Managers, and Directors in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Job Description



Client Organization:   Canadian Medical Association

Position Title:   Chief Executive Officer

Reports to:   Board of Directors, Canadian Medical Association

Location:   Ottawa, Ontario, Canada



The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) was founded in October 1867, just three months after the birth of Canada.  Created by a small group of physicians who recognized the need for a national medical body, today the CMA has over 80,000 members and works to ensure the robust health of Canada’s medicare system, one of the country’s most valued social programs, in the face of numerous challenges.

The CMA is a national, voluntary association of physicians that advocates on behalf of its members and the public for access to high-quality health care, and provides leadership, guidance and services to practising physicians, students and residents, and retired physicians.  The CMA’s values of Professionalism, Integrity, Compassion and Community Building serve as guiding principles, and the CMA’s vision of being “the leader in engaging and serving physicians, and the national voice for the highest standards for health and health care” and its mission of “helping physicians care for patients” accentuate the organization’s dual purpose of advancing the needs of the profession with the vital contributions of the profession.

Organizational Context

In 2010, the CMA embarked upon a comprehensive strategic review in response to the changing nature of medical practice, shifting demographics, the evolving role of government in health, and the need for greater cooperation among medical organizations.  The modified organizational model and resulting changes was an important step for the CMA as they entered a new era of ongoing improvement.

As the CMA Board and executive team prepared to develop the new strategic plan for 2015-2017 (see CMA Strategic Plan, p.7), it became evident that further changes were required, including changes in governance and operating structure, in order to better serve the needs of its members, and to attract new members.  After considerable discussion and consultation, the decision was made to restructure the current CMA organization, shifting several portfolios and their respective staff to a newly-created organization, NewCo (Branding for the new organization is underway with a final decision expected in 2015).  This evolution will allow for a clearer delineation of strategic objectives, focused responsibilities and activities for each organization, as outlined here:

Future CMA

    • Community Building
      Responsible for maintaining and strengthening relationships with members, Provincial/Territorial Medical Associations (PTMAs), affiliate and associate organizations and other medical and health stakeholders.
    • Health Policy and Research
      Responsible for research and policy development and environmental scanning in the areas of the physician workforce, medical ethics, public health, health information technology and health system financing and reform issues.
    • Advocacy and Public Affairs
      Responsible for all aspects of communications, government relations and public affairs, as well as social media, physician reputation management and brand management as well as translation services and public opinion research.
    • Strategy and Organization Effectiveness
      Responsible for governance, strategic planning, and the performance of the organization, and the requisite enabling services as required.

 Future NewCo

    • Professional Services and Leadership
      Responsible for knowledge products and leadership programs, including knowledge for practice strategic initiatives, continuing professional and leadership development programs and courses, clinical products and services,  and CMA media and CMAJ/publications.
    • Accreditation
      Responsible for ensuring education programs meet national standards, and ensuring programs enable students to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to function as competent health practitioners for the benefit of all Canadians.
    • Building Services
      Responsible for the sub-contracted management of building operations.
    • Strategy and Organization Effectiveness
      Responsible for governance, strategic planning, and the performance of the organization, and the requisite enabling services as required.

Accordingly, governance structure will also change.  The CMA group of companies will be governed with Boards of Directors performing the appropriate strategic, risk management and fiduciary duties for the three operating organizations, and a revised CMAH (Canadian Medical Association Holdings) Board (CMAH 2014).  This structure enables unambiguous reporting relationships between the CMA Board and the Boards of its companies, enables access to discretionary reserves, and uses a central Board – CMAH (2014) – to ensure alignment within and between each company, with the overarching strategic direction set by the CMA Board. 

This new structure will require two new CEOs, one each for the CMA and NewCo respectively with very different mandates and corresponding competencies.  As such, the CMA CEO role profile will be reflective of the organization’s new strategic mandate, priorities and deliverables.


The position of the CMA CEO reports directly to the CMA Board of Directors.  The CEO is accountable for leading the development and execution of the CMA’s long-term strategy with a view to creating member value and ensuring that the CMA is a respected leader in the area of advocacy in support of the medical profession, patients and the public.   The CEO is also ultimately responsible for all day-to-day enterprise management decisions and for implementing long- and short-term plans.  The CEO acts as a direct liaison between the Board of Directors and management, and communicates on behalf of the CMA to members, employees, stakeholders, government authorities and the public.  The CMA CEO also works in a close, collaborative relationship with the CEOs of NewCo and MDPSI in ensuring alignment of strategy and the fulfillment of the “one member” vision.

Primary responsibilities include:

    • Strengthening the national voice of the CMA for the medical profession.
    • Leading a national vision for a healthy population and world-class health care.
    • Advancing medical professionalism.
    • Improving physician health and well-being.
    • Maximizing strategic alliances and partnerships.
    • Understanding and being responsive to the changing and evolving needs of members.

More specifically, the CEO is responsible for:

    • Fostering a member-focused work environment whereby the value proposition is well understood, communicated and highly responsive to member needs.
    • Ensuring the organization is appropriately organized, staffed and inspired to enable it to achieve the approved strategy.
    • Acting as a broker of ideas and establishing conditions for innovation and intelligent risk-taking.
    • Creating an environment of discipline and focus that leverages the organization’s capacity.
    • Establishing, nurturing and leveraging strategic relationships with the public, professional societies, divisional associations, the media and other groups related to the medical profession and taking an active role to create positive public awareness of the profession.
    • Advocating on health issues, priorities and policy at the national government level.
    • Developing and recommending corporate policies and ensuring that the appropriate policies are properly and uniformly understood, interpreted, implemented and administered.
    • Ensuring the CMA has appropriate internal controls and management information systems to conduct business effectively.
    • Actively participating with the Board of Directors and its Committees in the development of visionary strategies.
    • Ensuring that Directors are properly informed and that sufficient information is provided to enable the Board to form appropriate judgments and make informed decisions.
    • In concert with the Chair, developing Board agendas and requesting special meetings of the Board as appropriate.
    • Serving on the MD Board and, in collaboration with MD CEO and the newly-created role of NewCo CEO, ensuring the delivery of an integrated value proposition to CMA members.

Opportunities and Challenges

The Canadian Medical Association has a strong history and an equally strong brand.  Considered vital and essential to the current and future discourse on health care in the country, the CMA’s success is based on achieving a fine balance of advancing the needs of the profession and the individual with advancing the contributions of the profession to improve health care, health systems and patient outcomes.

In recent years, while the CMA continues to gain some 2,500 net new members annually, the rate of lapsed members has increased and percentage of the eligible physician population who are members has dipped slightly.  There is a clear need to reinvigorate and modernize the CMA and to demonstrate value and relevancy to an existing/potential membership that encompasses practicing and retired physicians, students and residents.  The creation of NewCo and refocusing of the CMA is deemed not only logical but compelling, and allows for a natural separation of revenue-generating from policy/advocacy activities.

At the same time, the new governance model comes with its own degree of complexity and requires each of the three CEOs (CMA, NewCo, MDPSI) to collaborate closely, not only to demonstrate seamlessness to stakeholders, including members, but to advance effectively the overall objectives of the CMA.  Collaboration is also essential in building the relationships with the Provincial and Territorial Medical Associations (PTMAs) as well as other medical and health care professional organizations in order to improve interdisciplinary health care systems and patient care.

Position Priorities

The Chief Executive Officer of the CMA will have overall responsibility for all aspects of the strategic and operational management of the organization, and its financial and human capital resources (98 FTE).  S/he will report to the Board of Directors, and will be accountable for the main responsibilities as outlined in the above Role Profile.

In the near term, the new CEO will need to focus on certain key “transitional” priorities: 

    • Developing the strategic plan and finalizing organizational structure, roles and responsibilities in line with the newly-focused mandate of the organization.
    • Ensuring clarity of strategic objectives and alignment to objectives.
    • Assisting staff with transition to new structure and mandate.
    • Establishing relationships and credibility, internally and externally, with the Board, PTMAs, the Federal government, and other key stakeholders.
    • Building effective, collaborative relationships with partner CEOs.
    • Communicating value proposition to members and ensuring engagement of all stakeholders.

In the longer term, the CEO will have contributed to increasing membership and demonstrating the value and relevancy of the work of the CMA by:

    • Confirming the CMA’s central role as a leader in national health care issues.
    • Championing and re-establishing the CMA’s prominent position at the policy table and ensuring the physician’s voice is central in national health care discussions.
    • Developing well-researched positions that advance interests of the profession, the patient, and the health care system.
    • Galvanizing and mobilizing physician interest in issues at the pan-Canadian systems level.
    • Working collaboratively with and supporting the provincial/territorial work of the PTMAs.
    • Ensuring members and prospective members are aware of the CMA’s role and impact.
    • Collaborating with partner CEOs to determine allocation of resources and funding for the betterment of the whole, and modeling the “one member” vision of the CMA.
    • Ensuring the Board’s appropriate focus on its role and the clear distinction between governance and management.
    • Managing effectively the financial and human resources of the organization to achieve results.


  • While there is a preference for a physician with clinical practice experience, more important are the executive skills, business acumen and leadership depth required to lead the current and future development of the organization:  the ability to develop and implement strategy and to assess the strategic and financial health of an organization; effective at organizational development and alignment; experience leading people in the attainment of goals.
  • Knowledge of the Canadian health care system and political landscape are important.  Grasping the future state, s/he brings thought leadership in health policy issues, and the capability to lead and innovate in government relations, advocacy and policy development efforts.
  • The candidate has experience working with a Board of Directors and Committees, is knowledgeable of best practices in governance, has a clear understanding of the Board and CEO roles, and an appreciation of a servant-leader Board relationship.
  • The candidate combines exceptional relationship-building and stakeholder-management skills with excellent communication skills. S/he is a good listener, and is open to new ideas and points of view.
  • The candidate’s experience in enterprise management of a complex, multi-faceted organization is complemented by knowledge of association management.  Familiarity with the CMA, in particular, would be beneficial.
  • The candidate is a skilled change manager with demonstrated experience in making difficult decisions and can effectively lead an organization through growth.  S/he has the resilience and tolerance for the “growing pains” of organizational change and the commitment to see it through.
  • The candidate is diplomatic and has the political savviness to build and manage complex relationships internally and externally.  Sound negotiation skills allow him/her to act as an effective broker of ideas.
  • With an inspirational and positive personality, s/he can motivate and engage the profession in the important topics of the day.
  • The candidate brings a strong customer orientation to the role.
  • Knowledge of media (traditional and new) and its role in messaging and marketing are important.
  • Transparent and trustworthy, the candidate is approachable and accessible.
  • Confident but with low ego needs, s/he is naturally collaborative and team-oriented.  S/he believes in the importance of advancing the profession and health care above one’s own professional standing.
  • While s/he demonstrates a balanced approach to work/life/family, a national travel agenda of 30% can be accommodated.
  • Bilingualism in English and French is ideal.


Should you have an interest in exploring this further or have any questions regarding this initiative, please contact:

Jack Penaligon, Partner    
Direct: 1 416.640.4307     

Chris Sawyer, Senior Consultant
Direct: 1 416.640.4312

Judy Rodrigues, Project Coordinator   
Direct: 1 416.928.4611     

Amrop Knightsbridge
250 Yonge Street, Suite 2800  
Toronto, ON  M5B 2L9

About Amrop Knightsbridge -

Proudly Canadian, Amrop Knightsbridge is a leading executive search firm with offices across Canada and in the U.S. and partner offices around the globe. Amrop Knightsbridge is an integral part of Knightsbridge Human Capital Management Inc., a human capital management organization comprising teams of specialists with an integrated perspective across recruitment, leadership and organizational development, learning, and career and workforce management. Solutions are customized to fully meet client specific needs, maximizing investments in people and achieving optimal organizational and business productivity and performance. Knightsbridge has been recognized over multiple years as one of Canada’s Top 50 Best Managed Companies. Further Knightsbridge information is available at

Knightsbridge Human Capital Management Inc. is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity in employment within our firm and within the services we provide to clients. We recognize the important role we play in promoting and encouraging tolerance, diversity, inclusiveness, respect and fairness.

Contact Information

Amrop Knightsbridge Human Capital
Posting Date: 29-Aug-2014Executive Permanent, Full-Time Open 1 ASAP
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