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Media Release

Toronto Region Board of Trade President and CEO Announcements

• Jan De Silva stepping down after eight and a half years as leader
• Giles Gherson to be appointed next President and CEO

TORONTO, May 3, 2023

Today, Yung Wu, Chair of Toronto Region Board of Trade announced Jan De Silva’s intention to step down as President & Chief Executive Officer, effective August 31, 2023 after eight and a half impactful and dynamic years. 

Giles Gherson, currently Toronto Region Board of Trade’s Executive Vice President and Chair of the Economic Blueprint Institute, will be appointed the next President & Chief Executive Officer effective September 1, 2023. 

Jan will remain at the Toronto Region Board of Trade until the end of the year as an advisor, working closely with Giles and the Executive Leadership Team to ensure a smooth transition. 

“On behalf of the Board, our valued members, and the broader business community, we celebrate and thank Jan for her exceptional leadership and service,” said Yung Wu, Chair, Toronto Region Board of Trade. “Jan’s impact and advocacy has helped grow the Toronto region into the economic powerhouse it is today. As Jan passes the baton to Giles, we know he will pursue a path to take the organization and our economy to greater success. We congratulate Giles and look forward to what the future has in store under his leadership.”

In her eight and a half years as leader of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, Jan led: 

  1. The reactivation of the World Trade Centre, Toronto that developed and nationally operates the award-winning Trade Accelerator Program (TAP) helping more than 2,500 export-ready SMEs develop and activate export strategies.
  2. The Co-founding of the Canadian Global Cities Council – a network of chambers and boards of trade in the 9 largest urban centres in Canada; and, Canada's Innovation Corridor Business Council – a network of 18 chambers and boards of trade in the municipalities comprising the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor. These councils play a unique and influential advocacy role supporting the economic development and business competitiveness of our largest urban centres and economic zone.
  3. The unprecedented Reimagining Recovery Framework activated in the pandemic is the greatest advocacy and response effort in the Board’s 178-year history. The Board convened more than 25 sector tables; tracked international best practices; built awareness of the uneven impact of the pandemic across our 6 different business districts; activated pilot recovery programs in the Downtown Financial District and the Pearson Zone; and, launched a Recovery Activation Program across the Province to help businesses digitize. We became a sought-after partner to all orders of government and the first organization to advocate for the COVID Safe Pass to support the safe reopening of our Region. All done while the region, and our team, remained in lock-down.

While stepping away from TRBOT, Jan plans to remain active with the business community on new projects and board appointments. Prime Minister Trudeau recently appointed Jan to a second three-year term as one of Canada’s three representatives to the 21-country APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) where she also chairs the Digital & Innovation Working Group. In addition, Jan will continue to serve on the board of Intact Financial Corporation.

“I have loved every minute of my eight and a half years as President & CEO, but the time is right, as we stand up a new 5-year strategic plan, to pass the baton to an amazing colleague and leader. I know Giles and our talented team will be an unstoppable force supporting the economic growth and competitiveness of our region,” said Jan De Silva, outgoing President & CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade. “I look forward to remaining active on business developments national and global in scope. I also want to thank our incredible team, members, stakeholders and the broader business community for what has been the role of a lifetime!”

Having joined the Toronto Region Board of Trade in March 2022, Giles Gherson brings more than 25 years of experience in business, government, and media, including 15 years with the Province of Ontario where he led the government’s economic growth and competitive policy, oversaw the creation of two new agencies, Invest Ontario and IP Ontario, and worked to attract a wave of technology and manufacturing investments, including the retooling of Ontario’s auto sector for next-generation battery electric vehicles. He also held senior editor positions with the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post.

“Jan is the authoritative voice of business in the Toronto Region and I look forward to building on her achievements and legacy,” said Giles Gherson, incoming President & CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade. “I am eager to leverage my leadership experience in business, government, and media to continue creating shared prosperity and economic growth for our region. I look forward to working closely with our Board of Directors, executive team, growing membership base and our talented employees to carry out this mission.”


Founded in 1845, The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential business chambers in North America and is a catalyst for the region’s economic agenda. We pursue policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region and facilitate market opportunities with programs, partnerships and connections to help our members succeed – domestically and internationally.