Okalik Eegeesiak of QIA named chair of Nunavut’s Nunasi Corp.
Troubled Inuit corporation completes restructuring of governance
The board that oversees the financially-troubled Nunasi Corp. has chosen a new chair for Nunasi’s board, Okalik Eegeesiak, the president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.
Eegeesiak’s appointment follows a restructuring of Nunasi’s governance system that started last year.
Under the new scheme, Nunavut’s regional land claim bosses take direct control of Nunasi.
This means the new board comprises the president of each of the three regional Inuit association and the president and chairperson of each regional development corporation.
In recent years, some of Nunasi’s most important subsidiaries, such as Northern Transportation Co. Ltd. and Canadian North have not done well financially.
Nunasi has also been selling off some assets to raise cash.
This past fall, Wilf Wilcox, Nunasi’s outgoing chair, told delegates at the Kitikmeot Inuit Association’s annual general meeting that Nunasi will not pay dividends to Inuit organizations for at least two years.
Norterra, the Nunasi subsidiary that owns Canadian North and NTCL, has been forced to ask its owners for cash to cover its operating losses.
And the Kitikmeot association made a $2 million loan to Nunasi that was repaid by December 2012.
Nunasi has put a new a new management team in place: Archie Angnakak, who was hired as chief executive officer earlier in 2012, and Greg Cayen, the president and chief executive officer of NCC Investment Group Inc., who took over from Tim Zehr, who resigned as president and COO of Nunasi in June 2012.
Nunasi, founded in 1976, when it was called the Inuit Development Corp., has always presented itself as a Nunavut-wide development corporation.
But in recent years, the firm, which has been headquartered in Yellowknife for many years, found itself competing with other Nunavut land claim based businesses.
For example, the Nunasi-owned Canadian North airline competes directly with Qikiqtani First Aviation and Sakku First Aviation, two joint-venture entities set up between regional Inuit development corporations and the Makivik-owned First Air.
“I’ve been given the opportunity to lead the path in which the Regional Inuit Associations would like to go and I thank the board for their vote of confidence. This appointment is indicative of the positive changes that are being made to unify our companies for the benefit of Inuit,” Eegeesiak said in a news release.