Chair & CEO, Jim Pattison Group
Age: 87 | 2014: #5 For a guy who didn’t have positive net worth until he was in his fifties, Pattison—one of the two or three richest people in Canada—has done all right ever since. Spend a day in Vancouver and you can’t help but interact with his empire: auto dealerships, grocery stores, billboards, radio stations; or perhaps you’ll spot his yacht, the Nova Spirit, slipping under the Lions Gate Bridge. Pattison is ably supported by the all-star team he’s assembled over the years, including former Blake Cassels lawyer Michael Korenberg, former Hydro chief Dave Cobb, and former B.C. premier Glen Clark, who’s likely to assume control once the 87-year-old Saskatchewan native calls it quits. Pattison’s work ethic and smarts have made him a legend. But what makes him admirable is his quiet philanthropy, his support of fellow business people—who routinely seek his advice—and his mentorship of young entrepreneurs. Eric Pateman, who started Edible Canada at Granville Island, tells the story of sending Pattison a handwritten note, requesting half an hour of his time—and promptly being invited to HQ atop the Shaw Tower for a late-afternoon session at which Pattison opened his books, offered advice, and answered questions until 8 p.m.
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