Paul Godfrey

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Paul Godfrey
Toronto Blue Jays President and CEO
In office
2000–2008
Preceded bySam Pollock
Succeeded byPaul Beeston
4th Metro Toronto Chairman
In office
1973–1984
Preceded byAlbert Campbell
Succeeded byDennis Flynn
Chair of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation
In office
2010–2013
Preceded byKelly McDougald
Succeeded byPeter Wallace (interim)
Personal details
Born
Paul Victor Godfrey

1939[1]
Toronto, Ontario
NationalityCanadian
Political partyProgressive Conservative Party of Ontario
Spouse(s)Gina Godfrey
Children3 sons (Rob, Noah and Jay)
Alma materUniversity of Toronto
OccupationMedia and sports executive, politician
ProfessionChemical engineer

Paul Victor Godfrey, CM,[2] OOnt[3] (born 1939) is a businessman and former Canadian politician.[4] During his career, Godfrey was a North York alderman, Chairman of Metro Toronto, President of the Toronto Sun and head of the Toronto Blue Jays. He was instrumental in bringing the Toronto Blue Jays to Toronto and has campaigned to bring the National Football League to Toronto.[5][6] He is currently President and CEO of Postmedia Network.

Background[edit]

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Godfrey grew up in a working class Jewish family near the Kensington Market neighbourhood of Toronto[7][8] and later moved to the Bathurst and Lawrence area of North York. After graduating from C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute, he attended the University of Toronto and graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science in chemical engineering.[9] In 1999, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.[2] In 2010, he was appointed to the Order of Ontario.[3] Godfrey is married to Gina with whom he has three sons, Rob, Noah and Jay. His jaw was surgically corrected, a trait for which he was satirized.[10]

Politics[edit]

He entered politics as an alderman in North York in 1964, serving until 1973.[7] In 1970, he was appointed to North York's Board of Control to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Controller John Booth.[11] He also joined Metropolitan Toronto Council for the first time, by virtue of being a Controller. He was re-elected to the Board of Control in 1969. In 1973, he was appointed Chairman of Metropolitan Toronto following the death of Metro Chairman Albert Campbell, and served until 1984.

Godfrey was attributed with backing a campaign led by pro-development Conservatives and Liberals united behind the candidacy of Art Eggleton, to unseat the left-wing Toronto mayor John Sewell.[12]

In 1985, it was reported that Godfrey had joined the new Ontario Premier Frank Miller's informal 'kitchen cabinet', a group that got together Thursday mornings at the Sutton Place Hotel to discuss issues of the day during breakfast. This was similar to a 'breakfast club' set up by the previous premier Bill Davis but with a more right-wing bent.[13]

Godfrey was chair of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation from 2009 until he was fired on May 16, 2013 by Premier Kathleen Wynne.[14]

During the Ontario PC Party of Ontario's 2015 leadership race, Godfrey endorsed Barrie MP Patrick Brown for leader.[15]

Media[edit]

In 1984, after he left politics he joined the Toronto Sun as publisher and CEO. In 1991 he succeeded founder Doug Creighton as president and chief operating officer of Toronto Sun Publishing. In 1992 he became CEO of the Toronto Sun Publishing replacing founder Doug Creighton. Creighton was forced to resign by the board of directors and the parent company, Maclean Hunter.[16] In 1996, Godfrey led a successful attempt by Sun management to buy back control, allowing it to become an independent entity once again. Two years later, Godfrey organized a deal with Conrad Black to swap the Financial Post with four daily newspapers in southwestern Ontario. These included the Hamilton Spectator, Kitchener-Waterloo Record, Guelph Mercury, and Cambridge Reporter.[17] In October 1998, Sun Media was approached by Torstar Corporation in an unsolicited takeover bid for $748 million. Godfrey said he was surprised by the move.[18] Two months later Quebecor Media Inc. made a higher and eventually more successful bid for a reported $983 million. Godfrey was a key figure in seeking out Quebecor as an alternative buyer.[19] After the sale, Quebecor, initially heralded as a 'white knight' buyer, forced Godfrey to cut 180 jobs from his newspaper.[20] In November 2000, Godfrey announced that he was stepping down as CEO of Sun Media. There was some speculation that he was uncomfortable while under the control of Quebecor. He remained on the board of Sun Media.[9]

He had been named president and CEO of The National Post, starting in 2009.[21] On November 27, 2009, He has been President and CEO of Postmedia Network, since July 13, 2010. He took a $900,000 bonus during a time that Postmedia laid off staff company-wide.[22]

SkyDome[edit]

In 1984 he was appointed to the board of a new crown agency called the Stadium Corporation of Ontario along with Larry Grossman and Hugh Macaulay. Its mandate was to choose the location and design for a new domed stadium that would eventually become SkyDome.[23] Godfrey stayed on the board until February 1989 when he resigned. He had been accused of being in a conflict of interest because of his involvement with a group lobbying for a NFL franchise in Toronto. Godfrey denied that there was any conflict and also denied that this had anything to do with his resignation.[24] However, Godfrey remained on the board of directors of the Stadium Corporation, a separate entity, until 1998 when he resigned shortly before SkyDome filed for bankruptcy. He claimed that his resignation would have no effect on the process. Godfrey said "... It didn't make much sense to me to have separate directors and shareholder meetings when the shareholders should be making all the decisions ... My resignation just streamlines the process."[25]

Blue Jays[edit]

In 2000, Godfrey became president and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball club. He stepped down as president on September 22, 2008 after eight years.[4][26] During his tenure, the Jays' payroll increased from $46 million US to $98 million US. While the Jays posted four out of eight seasons better than .500, they achieved no better than 2nd place in the tough American League East division.[27] In 2004, the Blue Jays purchased SkyDome for a paltry $25 million, far below its original construction cost of $600 million. The purchase gave Godfrey more latitude in controlling the total game experience.[28]

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation[edit]

Godfrey was announced as the chair of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation,[29] a role in which he served until being dismissed in 2013.

Other positions[edit]

Godfrey served on the board of directors of the now defunct CanWest Global Communications,[30][31] and presently as a director of RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, CargoJet Income Fund and Astral.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2500905/bio
  2. ^ a b Order of Canada citation
  3. ^ a b "29 Appointees Named To Ontario's Highest Honour". Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. 2010-01-25. Retrieved 2010-01-27.
  4. ^ a b "Paul Godfrey hired to run National Post". Toronto Star. The Canadian Press. 2008-12-02. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
  5. ^ CANOE – SLAM! Sports – NFL – NFL dangles a carrot
  6. ^ NFL franchise for Toronto still just a dream Archived October 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ a b Al Parker. Five Questions for Paul Godfrey. Toronto Sun. December 20, 2008. [1][unreliable source?]
  8. ^ Levine, Allan (2014). Toronto: Biography of a City. Douglas and McIntyre. ISBN 978-1-77100-022-2. The product of hard-working Jewish parents, Godfrey grew up in the Kensington Market neighbourhood before the family migrated to North York
  9. ^ a b Godfrey resigns as Sun Media CEO. CBC News. November 10, 2000
  10. ^ http://sanseverything.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/smile-and-move-on-paul-godfrey-on-racism/
  11. ^ Godfrey captures vacant seat on North York Board of Control The Globe and Mail (1936-Current); September 26, 1970; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Globe and Mail pg. 5
  12. ^ Sewell, John (September 21, 2015). How We Changed Toronto. James Lorimer & Company. ISBN 978-1-4594-0940-8.
  13. ^ Rosemary Speirs. Godfrey joins Miller's Thursday 'kitchen cabinet'. Toronto Star. march 8, 1985. pg. A1, A16.
  14. ^ Robert Benzie; Richard J. Brennan (May 16, 2013). "Paul Godfrey fired as head of OLG". Toronto Star. Queen's Park Bureau. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
  15. ^ "Postmedia CEO wades into Ontario PC leadership race". Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  16. ^ Bob Papoe. Paul Godfrey new Sun chief as Creighton forced to retire. Toronto Star. November 6, 1992. pg A1, D1, D6.,
  17. ^ Rob Ferguson. Newspapers: Black swaps papers for Post. Toronto Star. July 21, 1998. pg A1.
  18. ^ Les Whittington. Torstar bids $748 million for Sun newspaper chain. Toronto Star. October 29, 1998. pg A1, A30.
  19. ^ Rob Ferguson, Jim Wilkes. Quebecor tops Torstar bid for Sun chain. Toronto Star. December 10, 1998. pg A1, A40.
  20. ^ Rob Ferguson. Sun group axes 180 jobs. Toronto Star. March 3, 1999. Pg. A1
  21. ^ a b Surridge, Grant (2008-12-01). "Paul Godfrey takes helm of National Post". National Post. Retrieved 2009-02-27.[dead link]
  22. ^ Bradshaw, James (November 23, 2016). "Postmedia executives receive $2.3-million in retention bonuses". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  23. ^ David Miller. Battle is on for right to build our domed stadium. Toronto Star. October 7, 1984, pg A1, A13.
  24. ^ Dan Smith, Tim Harper. SkyDome director quits as critics tackle NFL bid. Toronto Star. pg A1, A2
  25. ^ Tony Van Alphen. Two high profile directors quit SkyDome. Toronto Star. November 24, 1998. Pg. A1, A24
  26. ^ "Godfrey steps down as Jays president". CBC News. September 29, 2008. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
  27. ^ Jesse Campigotto (October 22, 2008). "Q&A: Paul Godfrey – The former Blue Jays president and CEO talks about the future of the club". CBC News. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
  28. ^ "Blue Jays buying SkyDome for $25M". CBC News. November 29, 2004. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
  29. ^ Benzie, Robert; Ferguson, Rob (November 28, 2009). "Paul Godfrey appointed by Liberals to head troubled OLG". The Star. Toronto. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  30. ^ Paul Godfrey Named President and CEO, National Post. Canwest. December 1, 2008. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-05-19. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
  31. ^ "The Asper dream ends, the selloff begins". Retrieved 2018-06-27.

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