Class of 1996
Alfred Powis. As Chairman and CEO of Noranda Inc., his leadership and vision transformed the company into one of the world’s premier diversified natural resources companies.
Born in Montreal in 1930, Alfred obtained his Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University in 1951, and after graduation he went to work as an investment analyst at Sun Life Assurance.
He joined Noranda, a 700 million dollar Canadian mining leader, in 1955, and during his four decades with the company, his extraordinary character and perseverance would steer its growth through acquisitions and diversification into aluminum, forest products, and oil and gas.
He explained his strategy this way: “In the mining business, it’s difficult to make rational, coherent, long-range plans. Your direction shifts depending on what’s found.”
Powis was able to establish Noranda as one of the world’s leading natural resources companies, employing more than 32,000 people, and with a worth in excess of 11 billion dollars.
His energy was similarly applied to community activities. A co-founder of the Business Council on National Issues, Powis became a tireless fundraiser for, and served on the boards of, a number of community-based organizations.
Powis had a vision that led Noranda to the forefront of its industry, as he recognized the need to pioneer, to re-invest, and to diversify.