Boating Ontario Parts Ways with CEO, Appoints Rick Layzell


In a letter to its members, Boating Ontario’s Board of Directors has announced the departure of its CEO, Janet O’Connell. Additionally, the Board has appointed Rick Layzell to oversee the association as its new CEO. No further personnel changes to Boating Ontario’s staff are expected.

Layzell assumes the contract O’Connell was under, which comes up for renewal in September.

“It was a decision between the board and I,” says O’Connell. “It was a mutual decision and Rick being available right now made it easier for me to step away sooner than later. Boating Ontario has been around for a long time and a lot of changes need to be undertaken. It’s a big ship to turn around.”

O’Connell says she was at a point in life that she wanted to take “a step back” and re-evaluate what she was seeking from a career. She recently sold her home in Keswick, Ontario and has been contemplating making a change. She says making the hour-and-a-half daily drive to Penetanguishene each day played a role in her decision.

According to O’Connell, a return to a role within the marine industry is a possibility. “There’s lots of help that’s needed within the marine industry,” she adds.

Layzell brings extensive marine association experience to the position. Not only was he a member of Boating Ontario’s Board of Directors, Layzell spent 12 years of serving on the National Marine Manufacturers Association of Canada board – six years as Chairman.

The following letter was issued by Boating Ontario’s President, Jeff Wilcox:

On behalf of the directors of Boating Ontario I must inform all members and media effective immediately that our current CEO Janet O’Connell and the board of Boating Ontario have decided to part company.

Janet has worked with Boating Ontario for nearly two years and we wish Janet success in whatever lies ahead for her.

The board has appointed Rick Layzell to operate the association on a go forward basis and he has agreed to step down as a director in order to not be in conflict.

Rick will continue to operate using the current contract that Janet has been under and will remain as such until its expiration. At which time the board will then determine to offer a new contract to have him continue forward.

Rick has the utmost confidence from the board and we are extremely grateful that he has agreed to take on this very important position.

He will begin his duties immediately beginning on Monday July 17th and will be operating from the office in Penetanguishene (Ontario).

I look forward to speaking to anyone should they wish more information on this process.