The Donald Sobey legacy – who’s up for the challenge?

Posted on May 05, 2021 | By Dawn Chafe | 0 Comments

Donald Sobey (Photo: Queen’s University)

Annual celebrations have a way of making me nostalgic. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, award programs—for me, these yearly rites are opportunities to remember the past, assess the present and prepare for the future.

On this, our 23rd annual Top 50 CEO edition, I see 24 first-time award winners. Looking over the names and their accomplishments, I wonder how many of those 24 will earn the five awards needed for Hall of Fame induction. Who will be the next generation’s Ken Rowe, mortgaging their home for startup capital that gets leveraged over time into a 4,000-person international conglomerate worth more than a billion dollars a year? Or a Mickey MacDonald, whose gut instinct told him to go all in on cell phones, back when “mobility” was roughly the shape, size and weight of a brick?

Looking back even further, to the time before we launched the Top 50 CEO program in 1999, I can’t help but wonder if we have it in us to create more corporate legends. People who saw and seized opportunities others did not, like K.C. Irving, the McCains, Ganongs… and Sobeys. I can’t mention the latter without pausing to reflect on the recent death of Donald Sobey.

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