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College hires Fred Meier as next President and CEO

May 5, 2020

Photo portrait of Fred MeierRed River College’s Board of Governors has announced that longtime public servant Fred Meier will serve as RRC’s next President and CEO, effective July 6, 2020.

Following a nation-wide search led by MNP and guided by the Board’s selection committee — one that captured input from staff, students, faculty and industry — the unanimous decision was made to hire Meier for the organization’s top role.

“Fred brings a tremendous amount of senior leadership experience to the role,” says Board chair Loren Cisyk. “A successful College relies on strong leadership and we look forward to how Fred’s experience, leading at a high-level, will translate into new opportunities for our students and our province.”

Meier is a proud Manitoban who brings considerable senior leadership experience to the new role. In his current position as cabinet secretary and clerk of the province’s Executive Council, he has championed measures towards building a positive and inclusive culture, with a focus on employee engagement that better supports innovation and collaboration to the benefit of all Manitobans.

“Red River College is a highly respected organization with a proud history and an incredible future. I am excited to serve in this new role,” says Meier (shown, at left). “I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work alongside such talented people, whose passion and dedication continue to move this College forward. I’m extremely honoured to join such an important Manitoba institution at a time when it will play an important role in rebuilding our economy.”

While the search was underway, the Board appointed Dr. Christine Watson, RRC’s Vice-president, Academic, as interim president and CEO. Watson led the College through its transition to alternative delivery models in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

“We can’t thank Christine enough for her leadership during this time,” says Cisyk. “No one expected the kind of disruption to our lives that COVID-19 would bring. Her hard work — and that of the Senior Leadership Team — ensured the College was able to continue to operate during this pandemic, and that our students and faculty were supported. This work was essential to our operations, and as Manitoba begins to re-open its economy, we know that Red River College will be instrumental in rebuilding it.”

Cisyk says there were a number of criteria the Board considered — chief among them, the need for a president who could create an environment in which to support strong student outcomes, along with the capacity to build and grow partnerships with industry and government at all levels, while creating even more opportunities for work-integrated learning.

“Students know the value that an RRC education gives them,” says Joshua Roopchand, selection committee member and past-president of RRC’s Students’ Association. “In order for students to be successful in their studies and in their future careers, we need a College that has strong leaders who will take a holistic approach to create a learning environment that our students need to succeed.

“Having the opportunity to include a student perspective was important in choosing the next president and I am excited to see how the College will grow under Fred’s leadership.”

Cisyk also noted it was equally important the new president have the experience required to ensure that RRC continues to be a place where employees feel engaged and supported in their work.

“I am excited to see the positive impact Fred’s leadership will have on the learning environment — not only for our students, but for the staff and faculty who mentor and guide them every day,” says Jayne Geisel, staff representative and Board selection committee member.

“Strong employee engagement is such an important part of creating a positive and supportive working and learning environment, and that ultimately leads to stronger student outcomes,” adds Ashley Richard, Board director and selection committee member. “Fred’s leadership in transforming and engaging Manitoba’s public service will only help RRC get stronger, and we’re excited to see how his leadership will shape the College.”

Meier is Red River College’s sixth president and CEO. He has been appointed to a five-year term.