Caldwell Recruits CEO for Knowledge First Financial

February 13, 2023 – Jeff Freeborough and Kelly Blair of Toronto-based Caldwell recently assisted in the recruitment of Andrew Lo as president and CEO of Knowledge First Financial Inc. “Under Andrew’s guidance, the future is very bright for our organization and the students we serve,” said Andrea Bolger, chair of the board of directors, Knowledge First Financial. “With Andrew’s experience and innovation added to the team, we are one step closer to realizing our shared vision of providing enhanced digital capabilities and additional services to students everywhere.”

With more than 30 years of experience in the digital and financial services space, Mr. Lo brings a blend of innovative thinking and financial acumen to the company to help scale the business and steer the organization into the future. He most recently served as president of a division of Financeit, a point-of-sale financing provider. He was also the president and CEO of RATESDOTCA Group, Canada’s largest digital acquisition platform for insurance and financial services.

“In today’s day and age, ensuring Canadians have the tools and resources they need to navigate their education and take hold of their future is so important, and ultimately, something that I cannot wait to contribute to,” said Mr. Lo. “By democratizing education and demystifying the post-secondary journey at every turn, we will help families make sure they have the means to support their children and help them realize their full potential.”

Knowledge First Financial Inc. is Canada’s largest registered education savings plan company. With over $6 billion in assets under management, the company is committed to empowering students by giving them the resources they need to financially and mentally succeed along their academic journeys. As a wholly owned subsidiary of the Knowledge First Foundation, a not-for-profit Canadian corporation, the company manages over 600,000 RESPs for customers, helping approximately 60,000 students through post-secondary studies each year. Since 1965, the company has paid out about $8.2 billion to subscribers and students through their plans.

Serving Financial Services Organizations

Caldwell’s global financial services practice serves clients in the areas of investment banking and capital markets, asset and wealth management, alternative investments, insurance, consumer financial services and real estate, as well as all shared services and functional capabilities across the financial services sector.

Related: Caldwell Recruits CEO for Intelligent Wellhead Systems

Mr. Freeborough is managing partner of Caldwell’s Toronto office and is a member of the firm’s leader team. He is a key member of the financial services and professional services practices, and is also an active member of the data, digital and technology, and private equity and venture capital practice teams. Mr. Freeborough specializes in building management teams and boards of directors with an emphasis on transformation – specifically surrounding growth, scale-up, ownership transition, financing/capitalization, transaction, restructuring, and culture shift.

Ms. Blair has been with Caldwell for more than 35 years, and has a record of serving clients that span a broad segment of the Canadian business community. A leader in the CEO and board recruitment space, Ms. Blair focuses on building senior leadership teams for a wide variety of organizations across industry sectors such as financial services, consumer, retail, business services, technology, and telecommunications. In addition to recruiting board directors and C-level executives, she has placed senior marketing, sales, finance, information technology, human resources, IT, and operating executives.

Recent Search

Caldwell has placed Sergio Vaccaro as the new chief financial officer for Bronx, NY-based Ponce Bank. He was formerly CFO for Private Bank Americas, HSBC. Richard C. Perkey, managing partner, and Mark Dillard, consultant, led the assignment. Ponce Bank’s previous CFO, Frank Perez, remains with the bank as executive vice president; he has assumed the newly expanded role of chief investor relations officer. Mr. Vaccaro has 27 years of accounting experience including 15 years in senior roles at Citigroup, HSBC and Private Bank Americas where he spent five years as CFO after leading financial planning and analysis.

Related: Caldwell Recruits President and CEO for Rocky Mountaineer 

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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