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Clark loyalist gets ICBC promotion, for now

The surprise Jan. 22 resignation of ICBC chair Paul Taylor was coupled with the elevation of a Premier Christy Clark loyalist.

The reason for Taylor's departure from the taxpayer-owned auto insurer and driving regulator was not given. The 2012 appointee's term was not to expire until 2017.

Taylor is the president of TransAlta's U.S. operations and executive vice-president of its coal and mining operations in Canada. He was ICBC's CEO until 2008 when he quit amid a fraud scandal at the Crown corporation's Burnaby facility involving the sale of vehicles that were repaired but histories concealed. The former deputy finance minister was briefly premier Gordon Campbell's chief of staff until Campbell quit in fall 2010 to avoid a caucus revolt over the Harmonized Sales Tax.

The interim replacement is Jatinder Rai, an ICBC director since July 3, 2012 and CEO of Response Advertising, a Vancouver ethnic advertising agency. Rai's company produced the $450,000 The Lucky Ones video that was shown at the start of the Times of India Film Awards at B.C. Place Stadium in April 2013.

Response Advertising and Burrard Communications once shared the same 409 Granville St. address. Burrard is the lobbying firm headed by Mark Marissen, who is separated from Clark but remains a BC Liberal strategist.

Rai and Andrew Wilkinson, now rookie minister of Technology and Citizens Services, were co-chairs of the federal Liberals' B.C. election readiness committee but quit simultaneously in June 2010.

When Clark moved from Port Moody to Mount Pleasant and sought the NPA mayoral candidacy in 2005, Rai was her media spokesperson. Clark narrowly lost to Sam Sullivan, who also won the mayoralty.

ICBC reported a $249 million profit last year.

Meanwhile, B.C. Pavilion Corporation interim CEO Dana Hayden is counting the days until she leaves as the operator of B.C. Place Stadium and Vancouver Convention Centre.

Hayden is leaving for an undisclosed job in the private sector. She was paid $203,905 for the last fiscal year. In 2012, she was seconded from the Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training ministry where she was deputy minister. PavCo COO Ken Cretney will act as interim CEO.

Hayden's leadership included the March 2013 renegotiation of Paragon Gaming's 70-year lease of land beside B.C. Place for a casino/hotel complex and the $15.2 million negotiated settlement with Telus after the Telus Park naming rights contract was cancelled by the BC Liberal government.

Hayden leaves at month-end, just days before the Feb. 3 opening of a 105-day B.C. Supreme Court trial between B.C. Place steel contractor Canam and cable subcontractor Freyssinet over cost overruns. Freyssinet claimed it is owed $6.5 million, while Canam wants $40 million. PavCo is a secondary defendant on the Freyssinet action.

Vancouver journalist Bob Mackin is a frequent contributor to The Tyee.

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