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Five more Canadian industry leaders are being inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.
Continuing an annual tradition going back to 1979, so-called “companions” are nominated by their peers and chosen by an independent selection committee representing Canada’s business, academic and media institutions. Timothy Eaton, C.D. Howe, Heather Reisman, Conrad Black and Edwin Mirvish are among the more than 180 executives to have received the honour over the past three decades, with virtually all of them being male.
The latest inductees – Ed Clark, Rick George, Gord Nixon and Frank and Linda Hasenfratz, all of whom are listed in more detail below – will be formally added to the list at a gala dinner and ceremony scheduled for May 12th 2016 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
After 12 years as chief executive officer of TD Bank, Clark announced his retirement in 2013 at the age of 67. He spent three decades in the banking industry, having joined Merrill Lynch in 1985. Prior to his banking career he spent a decade in various positions with the Canadian federal government. Clark is actively involved with the United Way, Habitat for Humanity and, in 2015, he helped engineer the partial sale of Ontario’s Hydro One. Clark holds a doctorate in economics from Harvard University and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2010 for his “contributions to Canada’s banking and financial industry, and for his voluntary and philanthropic endeavours.”
Often referred to as one of the “founding fathers” of the Canadian oil & gas industry, George was CEO of Suncor Energy for more than two decades, from 1992 until his retirement in 2012. During his tenure, Suncor’s market capitalization grew from roughly $1-billion to more than $50-billion when he retired. George did not stay retired for long, however, having been quickly appointed as chairman of the Penn West Petroleum board of directors. He is a member of the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame and has previously been honoured as Alberta Business Person of the Year (2001), Canadian Business Leader Award (2000) and Canada’s Outstanding CEO (1999).
The grandson of a former director of the Royal Bank of Canada, Nixon was RBC’s chief executive officer from 2001 until 2014. He was previously appointed CEO of RBC Dominion Securities when he was only 43, making him one of the youngest Canadian bank CEOs in recent history. Nixon was named CEO of the Year by the Financial Post Magazine in 2007, the same year he was awarded the Order of Ontario. In 2010 he was made a member of the Order of Canada and since his retirement he joined the boards of BCE Inc. (which owns Business News Network) and George Weston.
After arriving in Canada as a Hungarian refugee in 1957, Hasenfratz founded Linamar a decade later in 1966. The Guelph, Ontario-based company would eventually become one of Canada’s largest auto parts manufacturers, boasting nearly 20,000 employees across its 45 plants. Hasenfratz’s experience with auto parts dates back prior to his arrival in Canada, having spent some time in post-war Budapest fixing motorbikes with spare parts. His company is named for his two daughters, Linda and Nancy, as well as his wife Margaret. Hasenfratz was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2014 and while his daughter Linda has since taken over as Linamar’s CEO, he remains chairman of the board of directors.
Having worked for the company her father founded since 1990, Hasenfratz was first appointed Linamar’s president in 1999 and became CEO in 2002. Since assuming a senior executive role, Linamar’s sales have grown from $800-million to more than $3.2-billion. In 2013, she pledged to nearly triple sales to $10-billion and reach profit of $1-billion in 2020. Hasenfratz is a member of the Royal Ontario Museum’s board of governors and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives’ board of directors. She holds an executive MBA degree from the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.