Class of 2003
Richard J. Currie was born in Saint John, New Brunswick and attended the University of New Brunswick, and the Technical University of Nova Scotia graduating with a degree in Chemical Engineering.
Following a career at Atlantic Sugar Refineries, he graduated from Harvard Business School, and joined the management consultants McKinsey & Company, based in New York, until he went to work for Loblaw Companies in Toronto in 1972.
He has served on the Boards of many educational and charitable institutions, including Mount Allison University, Bishop Strachan School, the Canadian Stage Company, The Art Gallery of Ontario and the Historica Foundation of Canada.
Currie’s commercial affiliations have included Directorships of CAE Inc., Staples Inc., Imperial Oil Limited, and as a member of the International Advisory Boards of RJR Nabisco in Atlanta and Jacobs Suchard in Zurich. He also sat as Chairman of the Board of Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE, Inc.), as well as holding the positions of President and Director of George Weston Limited, and Loblaw Companies Limited.
Under his leadership, the market value of Loblaw increased from $40 million to $14 billion, and became Canada’s largest food retailer, with 650 corporately-owned locations and over 400 franchised stores, and during his tenure as President of George Weston Limited, that company grew to be the second largest and most profitable baker in North America.
Other postings included Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Richard Ivey School of Business Administration at the University of Western Ontario, Chancellor of the University of New Brunswick, and as a Member of the Visiting Committee to the Harvard Business School.
The Canadian food industry awarded him its highest award, The Golden Pencil, and the American supermarket industry its highest honour, The Rabb Award. The Retail Council of Canada named him their Distinguished Retailer of the Year in 1997.
In 1997 Currie was appointed to the Order of Canada, and in 2001 was chosen as Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year.