Category Archives: Features

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The elephant in the room

Mining veteran Rudi Fronk, CEO of Seabridge Gold, has hit the mother lode—the largest undeveloped gold-copper project in the world. Now comes the hard part: finding a major partner to buy him out
By Kerry Banks
October 30th, 2014

Rudi Fronk is back on the road. The smooth-talking 56-year-old CEO and chairman of Toronto-based Seabridge Gold Inc. (TSX:SEA) is in the midst of a month-long travel itinerary that will take him to various mining conferences and industry showcases in … Continue reading

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How to build a pharma giant [and win friends and incite critics]

Valeant Pharmaceuticals has been the biggest story on Canadian markets the past two years. But with a $50-billion takeover in the balance, CEO Michael Pearson’s controversial high-debt, low-R&D model faces its stiffest test yet
By Robert Thompson
August 24th, 2014

Michael Pearson is a divisive figure. To some, he’s shaking up an industry—big pharma—that needed to be rocked to its core, that had become bloated and fat, reliant on spending billions on research and development that often failed to fulfill … Continue reading

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Is everybody out there?

What’s the biggest way social media and online culture is changing how companies communicate? Exclusivity is history.Whatever message you’re delivering, know that every shareholder, stakeholder and critic is within earshot
By Jim Middlemiss
August 24th, 2014

When Bombardier Inc. launched the maiden flight of its CSeries jet last September, the company broadcast the three-hour-plus event in a live, bilingual webcast that was more Canada AM than a traditional corporate video. Held outdoors at the Mirabel airport … Continue reading

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The bubble in the room

Carbon-bubble theory says the value of hydrocarbons may be poised for a fall, taking energy company valuations with them. Nonsense? Doesn’t matter. Shareholders are asking questions—and looking for answers
By Robert Thompson
June 5th, 2014

Regardless of what industry you’re talking about, ExxonMobil is a towering giant. It is the world’s largest publicly traded oil-and-gas company (in addition to being the world’s third-largest public business) and it will play a central role going forward in … Continue reading

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Trust never sleeps

Canadian pipeline companies are fighting an uphill battle in efforts to obtain approval of their latest projects. They're learning it's more about managing relations than moving bitumen
By Mark Anderson
June 5th, 2014

It’s been a tough seven months for Canada’s pipeline companies on the stakeholder management front. In April, the Obama administration announced it was delaying a decision to approve TransCanada Corp.’s (TMX:TRP) $5.4-billion Keystone XL pipeline, designed to transport Alberta crude … Continue reading

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Hostile makeover

Until recently, boards and shareholder activists knew only conflict. Now you see them working together. What happened?
By Robert Thompson
April 21st, 2014

It was as the executive director of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, an organization supported by Canadian pension funds, that Stephen Griggs started paying attention to the influx of shareholders seeking change. These days these shareholders are tagged as … Continue reading

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Barrick turns the page

Peter Munk, iconic founder and long-time chairman of Barrick Gold, will step down this spring. His departure, after prolonged shareholder upheaval, plunging gold prices and massive write-downs, heralds a sweeping governance overhaul. It might fix the board—but what of the bottom line?
By Robert Thompson
February 26th, 2014

Maybe his Indianapolis office kept him oblivious to the profile of Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) and its flamboyant 86-year old founder and chairman, Peter Munk, but hedge fund manager Mike Morris wasn’t looking to gain publicity for his boutique investment … Continue reading

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Waiting for the light

By almost every financial measure, the mining sector started 2014 in a dark place. Great assets, strong planning and good timing have sheltered some companies. The rest—the majority—are getting by on guts, cuts and creativity
By Jim Middlemiss
February 26th, 2014

Daycon Minerals Corp. president David Poynton is hoping that 2014 is the year that his mining company strikes gold with investors. “I’m betting that this year Daycon will go public,” says Poynton, who is also a director at Marathon Gold … Continue reading

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Deal of the year: A big bet on small stores

Loblaw’s $12.4-billion purchase of Shoppers Drug Mart is a bold play on demographic trends, the future shape of retail and the care and feeding of Canadians
By Robert Thompson
December 16th, 2013

It is one of Canada’s most stalwart businesses with a nearly century-old tried and tested business model, but Loblaw executive chair Galen Weston and the company’s chief executive, Vicente Trius, are willing to go all in on a hunch that … Continue reading

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First you plan, then you pivot

Diversity, transparency, advance notice, notice and access, say-on-pay, voting infrastructure—they could be keywords, they’re certainly trending as the latest tools and regulations for issuers to master to keep pace with activists in proxy season
By Paul Brent
December 16th, 2013

Rising shareholder activism in recent years along with new policies and proposals from regulators has transformed the process of preparing for the proxy season from a dry routine to a dynamic, constantly changing exercise. As the calendar turns to 2014 … Continue reading

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Renaissance woman

With luxury nameplate Saks now in the fold, can HBC's Bonnie Brooks—already a turnaround master in Asia and North America—use her makeover magic to make a global powerhouse?
By Robert Thompson
September 16th, 2013

With more than two decades of success and failure behind her, Bonnie Brooks is preparing to enter what may well be the final act of a fascinating executive career. At year’s end, Brooks, 60, will complete the transition to the … Continue reading

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The best defence

What are the hot-button risk issues facing companies today? How should you deal with them? Our survival guide has got you covered
By Susan Mohammad
September 16th, 2013

It was a summer of unexpected calamity in Canada, from west to east. Who could have predicted an oil-filled train would derail, slam into the town of Lac-Mégantic, Que., and ignite, killing 50 people, leveling a swath of buildings and … Continue reading

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A man with a plan

At the end of June, Kevin Clarke steps down as CEO of Catalyst Paper—just three years after taking the job and only months after he successfully led the B.C. specialty paper, newsprint and pulp producer through possibly the fastest major CCAA restructuring ever. Easy? In your dreams
By Robert Thompson
June 20th, 2013

Even during his job interview for the role of chief executive of Catalyst Paper Corp. (TSX:CYT), a diversified paper producer based in Richmond, B.C., Kevin Clarke knew that he was being approached as Mr. Fixit. Clarke, an executive with a … Continue reading

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Playing for keeps

In a world increasingly dominated by multitasking and game-like distractions, companies are discovering that building “gamification” into their own strategies and approaches—fighting fire with fire—improves engagement of employees and customers
By Gabe Zichermann and Joselin Linder
June 19th, 2013

In 1994 three pioneers in game theory were awarded the Nobel Prize. John Nash, Richard Selton and John Harsanyl had each developed and refined ground-breaking mathematical theories around economics and games. In particular, they achieved notoriety for their work on … Continue reading

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Directors: ready for their close-up

Not long ago, the subjects of communications strategies and boards of directors' duties would rarely even appear in the same sentence. Today, as boards’ visibility and shareholder scrutiny increases, a growing number of directors are finding communications counsel and training are becoming essential to their jobs
By Celia Milne
June 19th, 2013

Excellence in communications strategy and implementation has long been management’s purview. Savvy businesses have an ongoing commitment to corporate communications, investor relations and transparency. The smarter they communicate their messages and the more acutely they listen to stakeholders, the fewer … Continue reading

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