CBA welcomes new CEO Simon Coakeley

  • January 07, 2021

The CBA is pleased to announce that Simon Coakeley has been named Chief Executive Officer of the Association, following a robust and extensive process aided by a leading executive search firm specializing in the identification of diverse candidates. Mr. Coakeley’s appointment will take effect on Feb. 15th, and at that time, he will replace Steve Pengelly, who has been the Interim CEO since July 2020. Mr. Pengelly has agreed to stay on for a period of transition following Mr. Coakeley’s appointment taking effect, to ensure an orderly and effective transfer of responsibilities.

“The Board of Directors is very pleased with the choice made by our selection committee,” said CBA President Brad Regehr. “Mr. Coakeley has an extensive background that includes senior executive experience in government and not-for-profit associations, is perfectly fluent in both official languages, and is a lawyer. Mr. Coakeley’s experiences, qualifications and capabilities are very well suited for the CBA’s CEO role and responsibilities.”

“On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Steve Pengelly for his commitment to the Association and his agreement to step away from his practice for several months to ensure there was no gap in the effective on-going operations of the Association. He stepped in at a challenging time, and we are all very grateful for his calm and effective management style.”

“As a lawyer, I have long admired the work of the Canadian Bar Association and am thrilled to be joining the CBA at this point in my career”, said Mr. Coakeley.


  • Simon Coakeley is currently the CEO of the National Association of Federal Retirees
  • He has 25 years experience as an executive in the federal government, including 14 as an Assistant Deputy Minister
  • He was a Special Advisor to the Clerk of the Privy Council on human resource management
  • He was Executive Director and Executive Lead for Refugee Reform Implementation at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
  • He has extensive knowledge of, and experience in, human resources management
  • He is perfectly fluent in both official languages
  • He is a licensee of the Law Society of Ontario and holds both an LL.B and an LL.M

The Canadian Bar Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to upholding the rule of law, and improvements both in the law, and the administration of justice. Some 36,000 lawyers, notaries in Quebec, law teachers and law students from across Canada are members.