Archiving Canada's Role in the NACC

Prime Minister announces Canadian membership of North American Competitiveness Council

June 13, 2006
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the Canadian membership of the North American Competitiveness Council, which was launched at the meeting of North American leaders in Cancun, Mexico, in March 2006. The Canadian members of the Competitiveness Council are Dominic D’Alessandro (Manulife Financial); Paul Desmarais, Jr. (Power Corporation of Canada); David Ganong (Ganong Bros. Limited); Richard George (Suncor Energy Inc.); Hunter Harrison (CN); Linda Hasenfratz (Linamar Corporation); Michael Sabia (Bell Canada Enterprises); Jim Shepherd (Canfor Corporation); Annette Verschuren (The Home Depot); and Rick Waugh (Scotiabank).

“I am delighted that these accomplished individuals have agreed to apply their considerable private sector expertise to help us identify and pursue initiatives that will create a more competitive North America,” said the Prime Minister.

The Council comprises 30 senior private sector representatives, 10 from each country, and has a mandate to provide governments with recommendations on broad issues such as border facilitation and regulation, as well as the competitiveness of key sectors including automotive, transportation, manufacturing and services. The Council will meet annually with security and prosperity ministers and will engage with senior government officials on an ongoing basis. The Competitiveness Council is an initiative of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.

Biographical notes are attached.

* * * *


Dominic D’Alessandro

Dominic D’Alessandro was born in Italy in 1947. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Loyola College and qualified as a chartered accountant in 1971. He has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Manulife Financial since 1994.

Mr. D’Alessandro has had an extensive and varied background in the financial services industry. From 1968 to 1975 he was employed by Coopers & Lybrand, where he spent time in the firm’s Paris office. In 1975, he joined Genstar Ltd. and worked in Saudi Arabia as Director of Finance and subsequently Manager, and was later based in San Francisco as Vice-President of the Materials and Construction Group. He joined the Royal Bank of Canada in 1981 where he held a number of positions, including Executive Vice-President. In 1988 he was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the Laurentian Bank of Canada.

Mr. D’Alessandro has been a member of several boards of directors and was the 2001-02 Campaign Chair for the Salvation Army and for the Greater Toronto United Way in 1998. He has received numerous honours, including Canada’s Outstanding CEO of 2002, Officer of the Order of Canada in 2003, and Canada’s Most Respected CEO in 2004.

Paul Desmarais, Jr.

Paul Desmarais, Jr. was born in Sudbury, Ontario, in 1954. He obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University and graduated from the European Institute of Business Administration in Fontainebleau, France, with a master’s degree in business administration. Since 1996, he has been Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Power Corporation of Canada (PCC) and has been Chairman of the Executive Committee of Power Financial Corporation (PFC) since 2005.

Prior to joining PCC in 1981, Mr. Desmarais was with S.G. Warburg & Co. in London, England, and with Standard Brands Incorporated in New York. He was President and Chief Operating Officer of PFC from 1986 to 1989, and Chairman from 1990 to 2005.

He is also a director and member of the executive committee of many Power group companies in North America including Great-West Lifeco and IGM Financial. In addition, he holds executive board positions with several European companies, including Pargesa Holding S.A. (Switzerland), Imerys (France), Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (Belgium), Total S.A. and Suez (France).

Mr. Desmarais is Chairman of the Board of Governors of The International Economic Forum of the Americas, Founder and Chairman of the International Advisory Committee of l’École des Hautes Études Commerciales and Founder and Member of the International Advisory Board of the McGill University Faculty of Management in Canada. He is a member of the International Council and a director of the European Institute of Business Administration. He is also a member of the International Advisory Board of the La Poste Group in France.

In 2005, Mr. Desmarais was named an Officer of the Order of Canada and received the Executive of the Year Award from the Academy of International Business.

David A. Ganong

David Ganong was born in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, in 1943. He received a B.A. from the University of New Brunswick in 1965 and an M.B.A. from the University of Western Ontario in 1970. He is President of Ganong Brothers Limited.

Mr. Ganong is a director of the Canadian Council of Chief Executive Officers, Sun Life Financial and the Conference Board of Canada. He is also Chairman of the Board of Governors of the University of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Business Council. Some of his previous positions include Chairman of the Confectionery Manufacturers’ Association of Canada, Chairman of the Board of Clarica Life Insurance Co. and Chairman of the Young Presidents’ Organization for Canada. He has also been a director of the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation and Air Canada.

Mr. Ganong was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2005 and was inducted into the Canadian Professional Sales Association Hall of Fame in 1999.

Richard Lee George

Rick George was born in Brush, Colorado, in 1950. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Colorado State University, a law degree from the University of Houston Law School and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Program for Management Development. He was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Suncor Energy in 1991.

Mr. George has held various positions with Sun Company both in the U.S. and the U.K. in the areas of project planning, production evaluation, exploration and production, and in the international oil business as managing director of Sun Oil Britain Limited.

Mr. George was named Chairman of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives in 2003 and is Chair of the 2008 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference. He is also a member of the board of directors of the U.S. offshore and onshore drilling company, Global Santa Fe Corporation.

He was named Outstanding CEO of the Year in 1999 and received the Canadian Business Leader Award in 2000.

Hunter Harrison

Hunter Harrison was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1944. He became President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) in 2003.

Mr. Harrison’s railroad career began in 1964 when he joined the Frisco Railroad (St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad) as a carman-oiler while still attending school. He held positions of increasing responsibility at the Frisco and Burlington Northern Railroad (BN) after BN acquired the Frisco in 1980. He joined the Illinois Central Railroad in 1989 as Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer and rose through the ranks to become President and Chief Executive Officer in 1993. CN acquired IC in 1999. Prior to his current position, Mr. Harrison was CN’s Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer from 1998 to 2003 and he became a director in 1999.

Mr. Harrison is a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and was named North America’s Railroader of the Year in 2002.

Linda Hasenfratz

Linda Hasenfratz was born in Guelph, Ontario, in 1966. She holds an Honours Bache
lor of S
cience from the University of Western Ontario and completed an Executive M.B.A. from the Ivey School of Business at the same university in 1997. She is Chief Executive Officer of Linamar Corporation.

Ms. Hasenfratz joined Linamar Corporation in 1990 and embarked on an extensive training program to gain familiarity with all aspects of the business, working as a machine operator, engineering technician and production control coordinator. She was Materials Manager of the Traxie subsidiary and in 1995 became Operations Manager for the start up of Comtech Manufacturing Ltd. She was named General Manager of Comtech and Vehcom Manufacturing in 1997. Ms. Hasenfratz was named Chief Operating Officer of Linamar in 1997 and President in 1999, before assuming her current position in 2002.

Ms. Hasenfratz is a member of the board of directors of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, the Catalyst Canadian Board of Advisors, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Original Equipment Manufacturers Association.

Michael J. Sabia

Michael Sabia was born in St. Catharines, Ontario, in 1953. He received a B.A. in economics and politics from the University of Toronto and an M.A., M.Phil. from Yale University. He is President and Chief Executive Officer of Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE).

Mr. Sabia held a number of senior positions in the Canadian Public Service, including Director General of Tax Policy in the Department of Finance, and Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet in the Privy Council Office. He joined the Canadian National Railway Company as Vice-President, Corporate Development, in 1993 and was appointed Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer in 1995. He joined the BCE group in 1999 and was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer of BCE and Bell Canada in 2002.

Mr. Sabia received an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa in 2006.

James A. Shepherd

Jim Shepherd was born in Quebec City, Quebec, in 1952. He graduated from Queen’s University in 1974 with a degree in mechanical engineering and is President and Chief Executive Officer of Canfor Corporation.

Mr. Shepherd has been employed in the forest products business for more than 25 years in both Ontario and B.C., first with British Columbia Forest Products Ltd. and then with Crestbrook Forest Industries Ltd. He joined Slocan Forest Products Ltd. as President and Chief Operating Officer in 1999 and became Chief Executive Officer in 2000. In 2004, he became President and Chief Executive Officer of Canfor.

Mr. Shepherd is a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Northern British Columbia, the Board of Directors of the Council of Forest Industries, the B.C. Progress Board, the Vancouver Board of Trade, and the Asia Pacific Trade Council, and is Chairman of the Forest Products Association of Canada. He was Chair of the B.C. Forest Safety Council and has participated in the United Way since 1995

Annette Verschuren

Annette Verschuren was born in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, in 1956. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from St. Francis Xavier University. In 1996 she joined The Home Depot Canada and is Division President of the company’s Canadian operations.

Ms. Verschuren began her career as a development officer with the Cape Breton Development Corporation in Sydney, Nova Scotia. She went on to work with Canada Development Investment Corporation as Executive Vice- President and then joined Imasco Ltd. as Vice-President of Corporate Development. Prior to joining The Home Depot, Ms. Verschuren was President and co-owner of Michael’s of Canada from 1993 to 1996.

She has been honoured with a doctorate from both Mount Saint Vincent University and St. Francis Xavier University, and was named the 2005 Distinguished Canadian Retailer of the Year by the Retail Council of Canada. Ms. Verschuren was installed as Chancellor of Cape Breton University and she is currently on the board of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Chair of Habitat for Humanity’s National President’s Council and a member of the Canadian Corporate Council on Volunteering.

Richard E. Waugh

Rick Waugh was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1947. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from the University of Manitoba, and a Master of Business Administration from York University. Since 2003, he has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Scotiabank.

Mr. Waugh began his career with Scotiabank and served in a number of positions in the retail and commercial, investment, corporate and international banking areas. He was appointed Senior Vice-President, North American Corporate Banking in 1983. In 1985, he moved to New York where, for the next eight years, he played a pivotal role in the development and expansion of the bank’s U.S. activities.

In 1993, Mr. Waugh returned to Toronto as Senior Executive Vice-President, Corporate Banking. He was appointed Vice-Chairman, Corporate Banking in 1995, and Vice-Chairman, International Banking and Wealth Management in 1998.

Mr. Waugh is a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers, serves on the Board of Directors of St. Michael’s Hospital and is Campaign Chair of the United Way of Greater Toronto’s 2006 Campaign.

By mopress

Writer, Editor, Educator, Lifelong Student

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