Lessons From the Atlantic Business Elite
Around the globe, Canadian business leaders are known for their effective management style: patient, polite, often undemonstrative, they are great networkers and deeply committed to operations. What are the roots of this management style, and how did it become the gold standard for Canadian business leaders? Acclaimed business writer Gordon Pitts argues that the source lies Down East, in the business traditions of the Atlantic provinces. The defining traits of fierce company loyalty, excellent operations, and casual-yet-aggressive negotiating style grew out of the entrepreneurial and family businesses for which the region is famous. The exodus of many talented members of the Maritime business class into Central and Western Canada, New England and New York has taken this brand of management into the global power centres of international commerce. Based on in-depth interviews with Atlantic business leaders, The Codfathers provides a window on the notoriously secretive world of the Irvings, the McCains, the Sobeys, and other key business tycoons, including John Bragg, the Nova Scotia bluebeberries and cable tycoon; John Risley, the hard-driving seafood king; and Ron Joyce, who made Tim Hortons into a Canadian icon. It examines the power networks built around Bay Street Lawyer Purdy Crawford and former New Brunswick premier, Frank McKenna, who is now bringing the Maritime Mafia into the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. The world of Newfoundland commerce is populated by such singular personalities as helicopter titan Craig Dobbin, cable-czar-turned-premier Danny Williams, and satellites-to-seafood kingpin Derrick Rowe. This export of entrepreneurial talent from the East Coast is one of corporate Canada's best-kept secrets. But what of the next generation? Some will swim against the tide of outward migration to return home, but most will work for global multinationals and corporations based in other areas of the world. One thing is certain, however: throughout their lives, whether fighting rush hour traffic in New York or overseeing the expansion of a Canadian business in China, these business leaders will continue the Atlantic traditions of dogged resilience, understated aggressiveness, and the ability, when things get rough, to unnerve the enemy with an onslaught of colourful language.
Toronto : Key Porter Books, c2005.
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328 p. : geneal. tables