Executive takes top job at AFSC

The new chief executive officer at Alberta’s Agriculture Financial Services Corp. (AFSC) has had the job before.

Darryl Kay, who began his job as CEO on Oct. 1, was interim CEO in 2017, has been with the corporation for nearly 10 years and most recently held the title of chief financial and innovation officer.

“When I look back to my previous stint, I think we were in a little bit of a different place as an organization,” Kay said in an Oct. 2 interview.

“We had just undergone some pretty significant change. We had an interim board with the government that had stepped in and helped us work through some issues, and I was serving in an interim capacity, which is always a bit of a challenge in terms of how much change you can really bring forward.”

The significant change he referred to was the firing of the previous AFSC board when it was learned three former executives had engaged in questionable spending practices. An interim board was put in place and Kay served as interim CEO.

He said AFSC is in a more stable position now and there is strong support from government and the board for its work.

Kay began in 2011 as the controller and then became chief financial officer. He has also worked within digital services, human resources, legal services and business services, giving him wide-ranging experience and familiarity with the corporation’s programs.

“I had a pretty important role to play in the development of our current five-year strategic plan and that for me really sets the direction of the organization and where we want to continue, and it’s really about making sure we continue to focus on clients and sort of shifting our model a bit from more transactional based to relationship based.”

Kay said he wants to help staff members continue and deepen their relationships with clients. As well, he wants to make it easier and more convenient for clients to work with AFSC.

He said he also expects to streamline the organization.

“I’m not going to sugar coat; we’re in a difficult budget environment and we’re really trying to manage that through things like attrition. But by streamlining and becoming more efficient I think we can do two things. We can meet that government goal of trying to continue to do things efficiently, but we can also make it easier for our clients.”

Kay said the corporation has improved its lending programs and the next focus is on the insurance side, “a core part of the business.” In that area, he said he wants to decrease the time it takes to assess crop damage and deliver payments.

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