Fredeen assumes new role as senior partner, focusing on indigenous and accessibility initiatives
After 20 years as general counsel at Deloitte LLP, Ken Fredeen has stepped down. He will assume a new role as senior partner at the firm, taking the lead on indigenous and accessibility initiatives – two matters which became very important to him during his time as general counsel and as a founding member of Legal Leaders for Diversity - a group of more than 100 general counsel from across Canada committed to creating a more inclusive legal profession.
“Over a year ago I approached the firm about leaving my role so I could focus on some things that really matter to me and line up with what the firm cares about which is the indigenous and disability space,” says Fredeen, who has been leading Deloitte’s legal teams in Canada and Chile. “We started something at Legal Leaders for Diversity that allowed me to explore and understand better the issues related to the indigenous space that ultimately led up to my belief that Canada’s future lies in economic reconciliation with First Nations people.”
Having chaired a panel for the federal government in 2012 and subsequently published a report around job opportunities for people with disabilities in the private sector, Fredeen is also passionate about this issue.
“That project led me, as a typically abled man, on a journey of understanding the unique challenges for people with disabilities, and I believe again that getting that right in Canada is going to be critical for our success as a country going forward - both from a societal standpoint and from an economic standpoint,” he says. “I’m bringing together these two areas that are very different, but they are both critically important for Canada, and Deloitte is very supportive of that.”
As general counsel emeritus, Fredeen will also continue to assist in Deloitte’s legal marketplace strategy and will provide support to Canadian general counsel at the firm.
During his 20-year stint at the helm of Deloitte’s legal department, Fredeen also acted as secretary of the board and a member of the management team. He saw the firm through many tumultuous times, from 911, the collapse of Enron and the SARS health crisis to the economic downturn of 2008, he guided the firm through many significant historic events. He is the recipient of many awards including the King Clancy Award for his work supporting Canadians who live with disabilities (2014), the SABA Diversity Award (2015) and the David C. Onley Award for his work related to creating a more inclusive Canada for people with disabilities (2017).
Fredeen is taking a month’s sabbatical before officially assuming his new role, although he expects to use the time to prepare for his new position as he begins to distance himself from the role of general counsel.
“It’s really important to me to get going. I’m also very excited about leadership opportunities for my team and the incoming GC in particular,” he says. “I couldn’t ask for more than that.”
Deloitte’s new general counsel will be announced shortly.