James Hector Lithgow (b.1890 - d.1966) joined the Company as a Clerk in the Actuarial Department in 1908, shortly before playing centre for the Manufacturers Life hockey team during its championship 1909-1910 Toronto Financial Hockey League season. Leaving to serve as a gunner in the Canadian Field Artillery during the First World War, Mr. Lithgow returned to the Company in 1919. He held several positions in the Company rapidly rising through the Executive ranks before being named President in 1951. Elected to the newly created position of Chairman of the Board in 1956, Mr. Lithgow stepped down as President and remained with the Company as Chairman until his retirement in 1959.
J.H. Lithgow triggered the proceedings leading to the mutualization of the Company in the 1950s by initiating conversations with the trustees of the Melville Ross Gooderham Estate. Also during his presidency, with head office staff numbering 650, plans were drawn up for an 11-storey addition to the head office building on Bloor Street. The addition, now known as South Tower, was completed in 1953.
Between 1951 and 1956 the Company’s New Business increased from $198 million to $346 million, Business in Force from $1.4 billion to $2.3 billion and assets from $450 million to $716 million.
1908 Clerk, Actuarial Department
1919 Assistant Actuary
1930 Assistant General Manager and Actuary
1931 General Manager and Actuary
1936 General Manager and Board of Director
1944 Vice President and General Manager
1956 Chairman of the Board
Next President: George Llewelyn Holmes (1956 - 1964)