Ottawa Coun. Tobi Nussbaum named new CEO of NCC

Ottawa city councillor Tobi Nussbaum has been named new CEO of the National Capital Commission. Nussbuam was re-elected as councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe ward in October's municipal election.
Ottawa city councillor Tobi Nussbaum has been named new CEO of the National Capital Commission. Nussbuam was re-elected as councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe ward in October's municipal election. City of Ottawa /

Ottawa Coun. Tobi Nussbaum has been named the next chief executive officer of the National Capital Commission (NCC), the federal heritage minister announced Thursday evening.

The councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe ward will replace the Crown corporation’s current CEO Mark Kristmanson, effective Feb. 4, 2019.

“As Canadians, we are very proud of our capital and appreciate the important role the NCC plays in helping shape the region as a world-class destination,” Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez wrote in a statement. “I am confident that Mr. Nussbaum shares that passion, and will work diligently to ensure that the National Capital Region remains a livable, vibrant city for residents and continues to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world.”

The NCC is responsible for the management of federal lands and buildings in the National Capital Region. Rodriguez appointed Nussbaum to a four-year term as CEO.

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In a statement posted to his Twitter account on Thursday evening, Nussbaum — a graduate of Harvard University and longtime public servant — said he is honoured to be appointed to the position and confirmed he will resign from his seat on Ottawa city council.

“I am grateful that I will have the opportunity to continue to serve the public interest of the citizens of Rideau-Rockcliffe — along with all Canadians — in my new role,” Nussbaum wrote. “Although my job is changing, what remains the same is my commitment to public service and working together to building an even better nation’s capital.”

Nussbaum was first elected to Ottawa city council in 2014. Residents of Rideau-Rockcliffe sent Nussbaum back to city hall for a second term in October’s municipal election.

The former diplomat easily won the race in his ward, locking in 80 per cent of the vote.

Nussbaum’s departure will likely trigger a byelection in Rideau-Rockcliffe, located just east of Ottawa’s downtown core.

“My top priority as councillor over the coming weeks will be to work with Mayor Jim Watson, other council colleagues and staff to develop a smooth transition plan to ensure both uninterrupted service to residents as well as their effective representation at city hall,” Nussbaum wrote.

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“I will update residents as that plan is established.”

A statement attributed to City Clerk and Solicitor Rick O’Connor said an early estimate of how much a byelection to fill Nussbaum’s vacated seat would cost would be “upwards of $500K.”

In a pair of tweets on Thursday evening, the mayor — who sits on the NCC board as a non-voting member — thanked Nussbaum for his service on city council.

“I wish Tobi the best of luck in his new endeavour, and I look forward to working with him at the NCC board to deliver on city-building initiatives like the LeBreton Flats redevelopment,” Watson wrote.

Nussbaum will take the helm of the NCC at a time when the future of one of the commission’s most high-profile and long-anticipated projects – the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats – is up in the air.

The two business partners selected by the NCC to lead the revitalization of the 53-acre, long-vacant property are locked in a recently launched legal dispute.

In a brief written statement, the NCC also congratulated Nussbaum on his appointment.

“The National Capital Commission remains committed to building a dynamic, sustainable and inspiring capital that is a source of pride for all Canadians and looks forward to working with Mr. Nussbaum on major transformative projects over the coming years,” the statement read.

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“The board of directors would like to recognize and sincerely thank Dr. Mark Kristmanson for his years of leadership and commitment to delivering on the mission and priorities of the NCC.”

The former federal Conservative government appointed Kristmanson as head of the NCC in early 2014 for a five-year term.

A report released by the federal ethics commissioner on Wednesday found Kristmanson violated conflict of interest rules by accepting a dozen event invitations from groups involved in business projects with the NCC.

The NCC’s board of directors is convening a special meeting to discuss the findings of the commissioner’s report.

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