Evan Siddall, the outspoken housing agency chief who once told Canadians not to worship homeownership, is stepping down in April, ending his controversial and combative tenure.
Romy Bowers, a senior vice-president at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., will replace Mr. Siddall. Ms. Bowers, a former banker, becomes the agency’s second female chief executive officer. The change is effective April 6.
The announcement was made one day after Mr. Siddall took to Twitter on Monday to concede that CMHC’s forecast for plunging home prices during the pandemic was wrong – a frank admission that was in keeping with his public persona.
“He will be remembered as someone that called it as he saw it. He was not afraid to take strong positions,” said Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. “He acted decisively during his tenure. ... Over all a very active, opinionated and therefore controversial leader.”
Mr. Siddall spent seven years as CMHC CEO, accepting an extension to the typical five-year term. During his time, he shifted the agency’s focus from being solely the country’s largest mortgage insurer to pushing for ways to help vulnerable groups with affordable housing.