Category Archives: Features

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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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Every symbol tells a story

Fending off giants, blazing new trails, spotting hot trends—companies don’t get to be the best TSX Venture Exchange performers unless they’re willing to put everything on the line
By Celia Milne
April 14th, 2013

What makes junior ventures successful? Holding steady toward strategic, long-term goals was a key feature for this year’s crop of TSX Venture 50 companies. Selected from a pool of nearly 400 eligible Venture-listed companies, the 2013 Venture 50 is made … Continue reading

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Director PROTIP: action beats reaction

Shareholder activism is on the rise. No surprise there. What is news is that, in scrambling proactively to address anything that might make them activist targets, boards are starting to change how they’re built and how they operate
By Mark Anderson
April 14th, 2013

For the past 10 months, Calgary-based fertilizer giant Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) has been the focus of a very public proxy war with New York hedge fund Jana Partners, which had sought to replace five of Agrium’s 13 board members with … Continue reading

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Canada’s boards, by the numbers

We hear a lot about key governance indicators such as independence, diversity and director compensation. But how do Canada’s boards shape up today on these important factors? Vital extracts from an exclusive survey of nearly 300 listed companies
April 14th, 2013

Twenty years can go by in a blink. And sometimes, it can seem like a century. In the two decades that title partner Korn/Ferry International and Patrick O’Callaghan and Associates have been publishing Corporate Board Governance and Director Compensation, taking … Continue reading

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Fear not

Securities laws back whistleblower programs, some even with rewards. Yet a lot of company leaders still think of whistleblowers as “rats.” The longer those executives and directors take to buy in, the more they put themselves, their employees and shareholders at risk
By Paul McLaughlin
April 14th, 2013

In late 2011 someone blew the whistle at SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., the Montreal-based engineering giant, and what a loud and piercing sound it made. Senior executives and board members received an anonymous tip that serious criminal activities had taken place … Continue reading

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In from the cold

Jobs and community investment? That’s a given. Today, First Nations involvement in mining and energy development also means early consultation, equity partnerships and, increasingly, deals on their terms
By Mark Anderson
February 25th, 2013

Anyone looking to gain an understanding of the scope and complexity of First Nations engagement in the mining and energy sectors need look no further than the Frog Lake First Nation northwest of Lloydminster, Alta. In 2000, Frog Lake became the … Continue reading

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Fracking faces the future

It took less than a decade for hydraulic fracturing to transform the calculus of the oil and gas industry. What will happen now that the eyes of activists, regulators and shareholders are fixed upon it?
By Susan Mohammad
February 25th, 2013

Few technologies have transformed an industry or become an economic game changer the way advancements in the hydraulic fracturing process, or “fracking” has. In under a decade, fracking has made vast reserves of natural gas and oil previously uneconomical to … Continue reading

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Let them see you sweat

Think like an activist...be prepared...know your shareholders...earn their vote...expect the unexpected. These days, when it comes time for proxy season and your annual AGM, a little paranoia goes a long way
By Paul Brent
December 20th, 2012

Proxy season used to be a straightforward, no-drama exercise for Canadian issuers. True, it’s been a while since information and opinions traveled a one-way street from company to shareholder, when issues and director slates were put up for vote and … Continue reading

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