Heather Reisman in 2007
August 28, 1948 |
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Alma mater||McGill University|
|Occupation||CEO of Indigo Books and Music
Chairwoman of Kobo
Editor-at-Large of Huffington Post Canada
|Spouse(s)||Gerald Schwartz (1982-)|
Heather Reisman (born August 28, 1948) is a Canadian businesswoman. Reisman is the founder and chief executive of the Canadian retail chain Indigo Books and Music. Previously, she was president of Cott Corporation, a supplier of private label carbonated soft drinks.
Reisman was born in 1948 in Montreal, Quebec and educated as a social worker at McGill University. Her father, Mark, was a real estate broker; her mother, Rose, owned a clothing store; and her brother, Howard, operated a computer company. She is the niece of Simon Reisman, who headed the Canadian delegation that negotiated the 1988 Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement.
After Reisman’s first marriage ended in divorce, she switched careers and followed her family into business first joining her brother Howard’s company in an executive capacity. In 1979, she moved to Toronto and co-founded Paradigm Consulting, a strategic change consultancy, serving as its managing director for seventeen years. In 1992, she served as president of Cott Beverages, a private label bottler of soft drinks, and also experimented with marketing fresh, ready-to-cook foods through a firm called Now! Foods.
In 1995, she was invited to become a “frontline investor” for Borders, the American book retailer, which was planning to enter the Canadian market. When Borders was unable to obtain the necessary federal regulatory approval in Canada, Reisman entered big box book retailing on her own founding a company called Indigo Books and Music. She was backed by the Onex Corporation, one of Canada’s largest and most successful conglomerates, and also controlled by her husband Gerry Schwartz, whom she had married some thirteen years earlier in 1982. In 2001, Indigo Books and Music merged with its main rival Chapters to form the largest book retailer in Canada obtaining a near monopoly position.
Advocacy and politics
In August 2006, as a result of differing reactions by the two main Canadian political parties to the 2006 Lebanon War, Reisman announced that she and husband Gerry Schwartz would be joining Robert Lantos in withdrawing their longtime support for the Liberal Party of Canada and supporting the Conservative Party of Canada under Stephen Harper.
Death penalty for Sakineh Ashtiani
Together with her family, Reisman endowed the Heather Reisman Chair in Perinatal Research at the University of Toronto. She and her husband established the Gerald Schwartz/Heather Reisman Centre for Jewish Learning at Holy Blossom Temple. They have also given major gifts to Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto, the Legacy Fund of the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, and to Harvard University.
In 2006, she founded the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation whose mission is to enrich the libraries in under-resourced public schools.
In 2006, Reisman received an honorary doctorate from Ryerson University. In 2009 Reisman received an honorary doctorate Wilfrid Laurier University. In 2009, the Financial Times listed Reisman as one of the top 50 businesswomen in the world. In 2010, she received an honorary doctorate from Mount Allison University.
In 1982, Reisman married Gerald Schwartz, the founder and CEO of Onex Corporation. Reisman has two children from her first marriage and two step-children from her marriage to Gerry Schwartz. The couple are members of the Reform synagogue, Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto.
- Profile at indigo.ca
- Profile at Facebook
- Jewish Women's Archive: Heather Reisman by Michael Brown retrieved April 1, 2012
- Clark, Campbell (4 August 2006). "Liberal power couple back Harper on Mideast". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
- Adams, James. Globe and Mail. "Reisman bans Mein Kampf from Chapters and Indigo."
- "Remember Mein Kampf". Vancouver: The Jewish Independent. 21 December 2001. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
- Globe and Mail, July 8, 2010: Heather Reisman spearheads 11th-hour bid to save Iranian woman from stoning