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Thomas d'Aquino CM is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, corporate director, author and educator. He is Chairman of Thomas d’Aquino Capital and Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive of Intercounsel Ltd., a private venture and strategic consulting company.
He currently serves as Chair of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, as Canada Co-Chair of the North American Forum and as Honorary Professor at the Ivey School of Business, Western University, London, Ontario.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Career in Business, Government and Law
- 3 Business Council on National Issues/Canadian Council of Chief Executives/Business Council of Canada
- 4 Council Achievements
- 5 Advisory Boards and Committees
- 6 North American Forum
- 7 The Vatican
- 8 Ivey - Thomas d'Aquino Lecture on Leadership
- 9 Corporate Directorships
- 10 Academic Projects and Affiliations
- 11 Policy Leadership and Achievements
- 12 Cultural Activities
- 13 Health Policy
- 14 Leaders' Symposia
- 15 Publications and Speaking Activities
- 16 Honors
- 17 Testimonials
- 18 Family Partnership
- 19 References
- 20 External links
Early life and education
Mr. d’Aquino was born in Trail, British Columbia and was raised and educated in nearby Nelson at Hume, Trafalgar and L.V. Rogers Schools. He later attended the Universities of British Columbia, Queen’s and London (University College and the London School of Economics). He holds B.A., J.D. (LL.B.) and LL.M. degrees, and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from Queen’s University, Wilfrid Laurier University and from Western University. For more than three decades he was an active member of the British Columbia Law Society. Mr. d’Aquino’s student work experience included employment in his native province’s forestry, mining, fisheries and railroad sectors.
Career in Business, Government and Law
Mr. d’Aquino’s career combines experience in government, business, and law. From 1968-1969, he was Executive Assistant to federal Cabinet minister, The Honourable James Richardson. From 1969-1972, he was Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Canada, The Right Honourable Pierre Trudeau. From 1972-1975, he was associated with an international management consulting firm in London and Paris where he worked on strategic business problems. In 1976, Mr. d’Aquino founded Intercounsel Ltd., a private venture development and strategic consulting company focusing on the banking, energy, communications and technology sectors. In his capacity as Intercounsel’s Chief Executive, he acted as a strategic advisor to companies based in Canada, the United States, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Japan and Hong Kong.
From 1976 to 1982, he was a Professor Adjunct of the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa where he lectured on the law of international business transactions, trade and the regulation of multinational enterprise. From 1987 to 1990, Mr. d’Aquino also served as Special Counsel to McCarthy & McCarthy, a leading Canadian law firm with offices in Canada and internationally. A specialist on international trade, he is acknowledged as one of the private sector architects of the Canada-United States free trade initiative and of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Business Council on National Issues/Canadian Council of Chief Executives/Business Council of Canada
From 1981 to 2009, Mr. d’Aquino was Chief Executive and President of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), an organization composed of the chief executives of 150 of the country’s leading enterprises and pre-eminent entrepreneurs. Mr. d’Aquino assumed leadership of the Council in its formative stages when it was known as the Business Council on National Issues (BCNI). Upon his retirement from the CCCE as of December 31, 2009, member companies accounted for $850 billion in annual revenues, $4.5 trillion in assets, and the majority of Canada’s private sector exports, investment and training. In recognition of his exemplary leadership, he was named by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives Board of Directors, a Distinguished Lifetime Member. (As of January 2016, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives has been renamed the Business Council of Canada (BCC).)
Highlights of Mr. d’Aquino’s policy leadership achievements in the 1980s include the conduct of a major study on parliamentary reform which resulted in a ground-breaking publication which he co-authored titled “Parliamentary Democracy in Canada: Issues for Reform”. As Chief Executive of the Business Council on National Issues, he brokered an agreement between Canadian energy producer and consumer companies leading to a national consensus policy paper on oil and gas pricing. Mr. d’Aquino and the Council played a key role in marshalling private sector support for the federal government’s fight against inflation. This was followed by a major study on the reform of Canadian competition policy and a multi-year campaign aimed at correcting Canada’s deteriorating fiscal position. On the policy front, his leadership in advancing the historic free trade initiative with United States in the 1983-1988 period is considered Mr. d’Aquino’s most notable achievement in the decade of the 1980s.
Enhancing Canadian competitiveness continues to be one of Mr. d’Aquino’s major preoccupations. To this end, he contributed significantly through his own work and through his supervision, on the CCCE’s behalf, to the ground-breaking study in 1990-1991 on Canadian competitiveness by Harvard Professor, Michael Porter. Mr. d’Aquino subsequently chaired the Council’s Canada Global Leadership Initiative—an undertaking which developed analysis and recommendations on how to make Canada a world leader in private sector and country-wide global competitiveness.
In 2002/2003, he co-chaired the Council’s Corporate Governance Initiative with fellow Co-Chair Charles Baillie, Chief Executive Officer of TD Financial. From 2003/2007, Mr. d’Aquino chaired the Council’s North American Security and Prosperity Initiative which addressed a comprehensive range of policy issues aimed at enhancing North American economic and security co-operation. From 2003/2009, he co-chaired the Council’s Task Force on Environmental Leadership which had as its objective to make Canada a leading global performer in advancing environmental sustainability.
Advisory Boards and Committees
Mr. d’Aquino has served on a number of boards and advisory committees. These include the Board of Governors of the University of Ottawa and Carleton University; the Canadian Foundation for International Management of Fontainebleau-based INSEAD; La Conférence de Montréal; the Advisory Council of The Association for Canadian Studies in the United States; the Chairman’s International Advisory Council of the New York-based Council of the Americas; the Advisory Board of the Washington-based Canada Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; the Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management at the Richard Ivey School of Business; the Council for Canadian Security in the 21st Century; and the Max Bell Foundation. For close to two decades he represented the Canadian Council of Chief Executives on the Geneva-based World Economic Forum and also served as a member of the Global Business Consultative Group of the World Economic Forum.
He is a Founding Member of the Pacific Council on International Policy headquartered in Los Angeles and was a member of the Institute for Strategic Studies in London. The recipient of The Shastri Institute Distinguished Lectureship, he has addressed audiences in four major Indian cities. In 2004/2005, Mr. d’Aquino also served as Vice Chairman of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations Independent Task Force on the Future of North America. He served on the Minister of International Trade Strategic Advisory Group and he chaired the Secretariat advising the Canadian members of the North American Competitiveness Council appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Presidents of the United States and Mexico.
North American Forum
Mr. d’Aquino currently is Co-Chair of the North American Forum, the continent’s pre-eminent trilateral institution dedicated to advancing Canada, United States and Mexico cooperation in economic, trade, energy, environmental and security matters. He also is Co-Chair of the Canada-Mexico Leadership Group, a bilateral group of private sector decision-makers dedicated to advancing deeper cooperation between Canada and Mexico. Mr. d’Aquino served as Co-Chair of the Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum which met in Toronto in 2012 and Melbourne in 2014. The Forum convenes leaders from business, government, academe and the not-for-profit sectors to foster Australia-Canada cooperation in political, economic and security affairs.
Ivey - Thomas d'Aquino Lecture on Leadership
In 2006, the Richard Ivey School of Business established the Annual Thomas d’Aquino Lecture on Leadership. Mr. d’Aquino presented the inaugural Lecture and subsequent presenters were Clerk of the Privy Council, Kevin Lynch (2007), former Governor of the Bank of Canada, David Dodge (2008), former Deputy Prime Minister, John Manley (2009), business leader Annette Verschuren (2010), banker and former Canadian Ambassador to the United States, Michael Wilson (2011), Governor of the Bank of Canada, Mark Carney (2013), and business leader Linda Hasenfratz (2014)
Until May 2013, Mr. d’Aquino served as a member of the Board of Directors of Manulife Financial Corporation, a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Until January 2015, also he served as a member of the Board of Directors and Lead Director of CGI Group Inc., a global leader in information technology and business process services, employing 68,000 people. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Calgary-based Coril Holdings Ltd., a private company with activities in securities management, engineering, railway maintenance, real estate, and natural resources. In addition to having served as a Director of Manulife Financial and CGI Group Inc., Mr. d’Aquino served on the Advisory Boards of two international banking firms active in Canada: Schroders (1995-2000) and Lazard (2000-2002) and on the Advisory Board of Montreal-based Kruger Inc. (2005-2014).
Academic Projects and Affiliations
In 2012, Mr. d’Aquino co-chaired a Canada Strategy for Emerging Markets project sponsored by Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, which produced an influential report titled “Winning in a Changing World: Canada and Emerging Markets”. He is associated with two of Canada’s leading academic institutions: as Distinguished Visiting Professor, Global Business and Public Policy Strategies at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs; and as Honorary Professor at Western University’s Richard Ivey School of Business.
Policy Leadership and Achievements
Mr. d’Aquino was a founder and member of the Executive Committee of three organizations which have played a significant role in historic national debates in Canada on trade and constitutional issues respectively: the Canadian Alliance for Trade and Job Opportunities (1987-1989); Canadians for a Unifying Constitution (1989-1990); and The Confederation 2000 Initiative (1996). He is the co-founder and former Co-chair of the Canadian Labour Market and Productivity Centre and has served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Council on Social Development and the Board of Governors of Carleton University and the University of Ottawa. He has served as a member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Outstanding Public Service Award, the National Jury for the Selection of the Vimy Award, and the Advisory Committee of the Trudeau Centre for the Study of Peace and Conflict at the University of Toronto. In 1997, Mr. d’Aquino was the Founder and Co-chair of the first-ever APEC CEO Summit which took place in Vancouver on the eve of the meeting of APEC Leaders.
An active supporter of the arts, Mr. d’Aquino currently serves as Chair of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation and Chair of the Gallery’s Distinguished Patrons (29). He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Calgary-based National Music Centre. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of The Council for Business and the Arts in Canada, the Fathers of Confederation Buildings Trust, and the International Advisory Committee of the Calgary International Organ Festival.
In the health and medical sciences field, Mr. d’Aquino served as a Canadian Nurses’ Association Commissioner on the Future of Healthcare in Canada which tabled its findings in June 2012. (30) Mr. d’Aquino has served as a member of the International Board of Scripps Foundation for Medicine and Science in La Jolla, California, and of the Chairman’s Committee of The Heart Institute of Ottawa Endowment Campaign.
Mr. d’Aquino organized and chaired the two Leaders’ Symposiums hosted by Manulife Financial Corporation: The G20 – The Changing Face of Global Politics and Economics in Toronto in March 2010 and Engaging China in a Dynamic Asia in November 2011.
Publications and Speaking Activities
Mr. d’Aquino is the author of numerous publications, a regular commentator on national radio and television, and a frequent speaker on platforms in Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Mr. d’Aquino has addressed audiences in forty countries and in over one hundred cities worldwide. In 2001, he authored, together with David Stewart-Patterson, an influential book titled Northern Edge: How Canadians Can Triumph in the Global Economy, Stoddart 2001. He is also the co-author of the book Parliamentary Democracy in Canada: Issues for Reform, Methuen 1983. Mr. d’Aquino has addressed audiences in forty countries and in our 100 cities worldwide.
Mr. d’Aquino is the recipient of numerous national and international honours and awards including The Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, the Aguila Azteca conferred on him by the President of Mexico, and the title of Commendatore conferred on him by the President of Italy.
Mr. d’Aquino is a member of the Toronto and Rideau Clubs, and the Rockcliffe Tennis Club.
Canadian historian, Jack Granatstein, lists Mr. d’Aquino as one of the 100 most influential Canadians of the 20th century and Canadian author Peter Newman describes Mr. d’Aquino as “the most powerful influence on public policy formation in Canadian history.” For testimonials by The Right Honourable Joe Clark, The Right Honourable Paul Martin, The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Governor Mark Carney, The Honourable Jean Charest, and business leaders Ronald Mannix, Hartley Richardson, Annette Verschuren, Laurent Beaudoin, Gordon Nixon, and Edmund Clark, see www.thomasdaquino.ca (31)
Mr. d’Aquino and his wife Susan Peterson d’Aquino live in the Heritage Village of Rockcliffe Park, in Ottawa. Both are active in their local community and Mr. d’Aquino was the founder and first Chair of the Rockcliffe Park Foundation (32). As a couple, they share a great passion for the performing and visual arts, architecture, gardening, fly fishing and travel. They also co-chair the Thomas d’Aquino and Susan Peterson d’Aquino Foundation for Business Leadership, Public Policy Innovation and Excellence in the Arts. (33)
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