April 16, 2021 – PFM Executive Search has placed Michelle Harrison as the inaugural chief information officer for Smythe LLP, a full-service accounting firm based in Vancouver, British Columbia. As CIO, Ms. Harrison will oversee the firm’s technology and innovation strategy. Smythe said it views technological innovation as a critical element in becoming the leading professional service firm in the marketplace and that the creation of this position was the next step towards this goal. “We look forward to welcoming Michelle to the firm with her extensive experience and innovative ideas,” said Bob Sanghera, Smythe managing partner. “She is a pivotal example of the direction the firm would like to take in order to keep up with the rapid changes in the business, technology and work environment.”
Ms. Harrison joins the firm with over 20 years of technology experience spanning the financial services, telecommunications, insurance and regulatory sectors. Most recently, she was director of industry experience and operations for the Vehicle Sales Authority of BC (VSA), where she led a variety of business functions, including technology. During her time at the VSA, Ms. Harrison was responsible for developing and delivering the organization’s digital strategy, transforming and modernizing the technology to generate efficiencies and lay a foundation for the use of innovative approaches in industry regulation.
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“I’m excited to join Smythe and work with the partners to create digital services that will transform the client and employee experience,” said Ms. Harrison. “Professional services firms are experiencing disruption from artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as new and emerging technologies that will inevitably impact the services that Smythe offers. It’s exciting to be a part of a team that sees that disruption and wants to harness it for the benefit of their clients.”
Smythe LLP is recognized for its work in the areas of assurance, Canadian and U.S. taxation, valuation, insolvency and business advisory services in Vancouver, Langley and Nanaimo. Its clients include private and public companies, family-owned businesses and not-for-profit clients. Its audit, tax and advisory specialists are a diverse team of professionals –many of whom are experts in the real estate and construction, mining and resource, insurance and technology industries across B.C. and Canada-wide.
PFM Executive Search, based in Vancouver, B.C., serves a wide range of industries, working with private, public and not-for-profit organizations to fill senior-level executive positions. Among the roles that the firm has recently filled include: president and chief executive officer, Provincial Health Services Authority; chief financial officer, PCI Developments and Warrington PCI Management; chief financial officer and vice president, finance and corporate, B.C. Lottery Corp.; and executive director, B.C. Civil Liberties Association.
Earlier this year, PFM Executive Search announced that it had placed Michael Atkins as the new chief executive officer of the Comox Valley Airport Commission (CVAC) in British Columbia. Partner Shaun Carpenter and consultant Matthew Bell led the assignment.
Mr. Atkins takes over from Alex Robertson, who served as CVAC’s acting CEO since the late Fred Bigelow’s departure for medical leave in 2019. “We are extremely pleased to welcome Mike to CVAC,” said Martin Crilly, board chair. “This year has been a difficult one, adapting to the challenges of a global pandemic, while coping with the sad passing of CEO Fred Bigelow. Like Fred, Mike is a former commander at 19 Wing Comox, with established relationships with community stakeholders, making him ideally suited to take the lead of our organization in the midst of ongoing recovery efforts. We have every confidence that the airport will continue to thrive under Mike’s direction and leadership.”
The Comox Valley Airport Commission is the governing authority for the operation of Comox Valley Airport. The nine-member commission is broadly representative of the Comox Valley community and its members are nominated by the City of Courtenay, the Town of Comox, the Village of Cumberland, the Comox Valley Regional District, the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Comox Valley Economic Development Society.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media