OHS Canada Magazine

Karen Adams named CEO of WCB Nova Scotia

Avatar photo

July 27, 2023
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety Appointments CEO nova scotia wcb

Karen Adams, CEO, WCB Nova Scotia.

Karen Adams is taking the reigns at Nova Scotia’s workers’ compensation board.

Saeed El-Darahali, chair of WCB Nova Scotia’s board of directors, said her first day on the job as chief executive officer (CEO) will be Aug. 14, 2023.

“We’re very pleased to welcome someone of Karen’s calibre and experience to lead our organization into a very bright future,” said El-Darahali. “Karen is a visionary, respected leader with a proven track record of leading complex organizations through change and renewal. These are exciting times for the system and for the WCB, and we’re thrilled Karen will lead us through them.”
Ms. Adams was selected following an exhaustive national search process that resulted in an exceptional field of candidates.

As the WCB begins a new Strategic Plan, in an era of newfound financial sustainability, El-Darahali said the board looks forward to Adams’ leadership and the opportunities it will bring.

Adams was recognized in 2017 as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network, and was voted by her peers as “CEO of the Year” by Wealth Professional in 2019.


She has held leadership positions in organizations around the world, including serving as president and CEO of Fundserv Inc, a financial technology firm serving the investment fund industry across Canada. She led the organization through a major business transformation. She has also served as president and CEO of the Alberta Pensions Services Corporation, and held a number of senior executive positions internationally with HSBC Bank.

WCB Nova Scotia described Adams as a “change leader, repeatedly managing large technology transformation projects and leading people through cultural change.”

Born and raised in Toronto, she has spent much of her career outside Canada. She has lived and worked in Mumbai, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul, Dubai, London and Amman.

With an MBA from the University of British Columbia and undergraduate degree in economics and mathematics from Queens University, Adams also holds the ICD.D designation from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

She serves on the boards of a number of organizations, including the Canadian Depository for Securities, the Canadian Capital Markets Association, the military veterans support organization True Patriot Love, and as Chair of the Board for The Country Day School in Toronto.

Her not-for-profit and community pursuits have included an arctic expedition in 2019 to raise money for veterans and their families, and she was among the first CEOs to sign a pledge to tackle systemic racism as part of the BlackNorth Initiative, it said.

“I have had the privilege of building my career in a variety of industries across four provinces in Canada and nine countries around the world. But every place I’ve worked has one simple thing in common – they’re all local communities, people serving people in the same community,” said Adams. “It’s about working together to make lives better, helping others achieve their goals and take care of their families.”

The WCB provides workplace injury insurance for more than 20,000 employers, representing about 350,000 workers across the province. The WCB sets the standard for workplace injury insurance by informing and inspiring Nova Scotians in the prevention of workplace injury.

“If an injury occurs, we support those whose lives it touches by championing a timely return to safe and healthy work,” it said in a press release.


Stories continue below