Maureen Kempston Darkes was appointed General Motors Corporation Group Vice President and President, GM Latin America, Africa and Middle East (LAAM) and a member of the General Motors Automotive Strategy Board, Effective January 1, 2002, a position which she held until her retirement from General Motors in December, 2009. Prior to this appointment, she was President and General Manager of General Motors of Canada Limited (GMCL) and Vice President of General Motors Corporation from 1994 to 2001.
Kempston Darkes currently serves on the board of Brookfield Asset Management, and she is a member of the RCMB Advisory Board. In January 2013, she was appointed the Government of Canada to the Science, Technology and Innovation Council. She has also served on the Board of Brascan, Noranda, Falconbridge, Thomson Corporation, Balfour Beattie plc, Schlumberger Limited, Irving Oil, Canadian National Railway, Enbridge Inc. and The Canadian Olympic Committee. During her tenure as President of GM of Canada, she was a board member of the Vehicle Manufacturers' Association; the Ontario Government Education, Quality and Accountability Board; and the Ontario Minister of Health's Women's Health Council. Kempston Darkes was appointed by the federal government to the Free Trade Agreement Automotive Select Panel in 1989 and, in 1994, to the Transportation Equipment Sectoral Advisory Group on International Trade.
Kempston Darkes is a former Director of Bridgeport Health Foundation. She has served as the former chair for major gifts for Women's College Hospital Fund Raising Campaigns; co-chaired the BC Cancer Foundation's Millennium Campaign, focused on genome science and research into finding cures for and treatment of cancer.
Kempston Darkes was born and raised in the Toronto area. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science from Victoria College, University of Toronto. She also holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Toronto Law School and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1975.
She has received honorary doctor of laws degrees from the University of Toronto, University of Victoria, McMaster University, Dalhousie University, Wilfrid Laurier University, Mount Saint Vincent University; and the Law Society of Upper Canada, an honorary doctorate of business administration from Laurentian University and an honorary doctor of commerce degree from Saint Mary's University.
In 1997, Kempston Darkes received the Order of Ontario and was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000. The American Bar Association in 1998 recognized her with the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. In 1999, she received the Government of Canada's Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case. In May 2011, she was honored with the Global Athena Leadership Award, and in December, 2011 the Automotive Hall of Fame and the Women's Automobile Association International honored her with the Alice B. Ramsey Award.