Most Powerful People

Canada’s 50 Most Powerful Business People 2014: #41–50

Meet the dealmakers, string-pullers and master manipulators who call the shots in 2014

#41 Michael Sabia

President and CEO, Caisse de dépôt et placement du QuébecHas investment clout—and uses it

The CEO of Quebec’s largest pension fund is expanding its global presence: Caisse is opening offices in Mexico City, Mumbai, Sydney and Singapore. The fund has also been making big moves at home, selling off the iconic Fairmont Royal York and Empress hotels, in Toronto and Victoria respectively. With more than $200 billion in assets at his disposal, Sabia leads one of Canada’s largest institutional investors, and he has used that position to decry the trend towards hostile takeovers in the M&A market. He hasn’t been afraid to back up that position with cash, either: Caisse increased its stake in home renovations chain Rona in the face of a bid from Lowe’s. With backing from the province’s most important money man, expect the Quebec government to protect its businesses better.

#42 Jordan Banks

Global head of vertical strategy, FacebookWants business to “Like” social media

The tech world is watching Jordan Banks now that Facebook has tapped him to lead a global team trying to find new ways for the social media giant to serve key industries (and boost revenues). He’s well-connected (having run eBay’s Canadian operation and JumpTV before joining Facebook) and affable. If he gets traction, watch for other social media to rush in and follow.

READ: Stock pick: Facebook Inc. (FB) mobile growth gets a Like from investors »

#43 Doug Suttles

CEO, EncanaIs shaking up the Oilpatch

Doug Suttles has participated in more than his fair share of M&A activity in the oilpatch this year, including several billion-dollar-plus deals. When he landed in the big chair at Encana in 2013, he inherited a company in dire need of strategic change. He delivered immediately, ushering five veteran VPs out the door, merging Encana’s U.S. and Canadian divisions and shedding assets, while also presiding over the $3.1-billion Eagle Ford acquisition. Stay tuned: He’s just beginning.

READ: Winners & Loser 2013: Out of gas »

#44 Roger William

Hereditary Chief, Tsilhqot’in NationFought for native veto power—and won

The lawsuit that Roger William, a hereditary chief of the Tsilhqot’in Nation, first pressed in 1983 to stop logging in the band’s traditional territories in B.C. turned out to be the one that would establish aboriginal title on specific non-treaty lands for the first time. The Supreme Court of Canada’s final word on the case last June could end up being the death blow for contested resource projects on land subject to native claims—like the Northern Gateway pipeline. As one legal expert put it, “for big parts of B.C., business as usual has just gone out the window.”

READ: The Supreme Court just gave B.C. First Nations veto power over Northern Gateway »

#45 Carol Wilding

President and CEO, Toronto Region Board of TradeCalled for Rob Ford to go

Trade boards are usually sleepy organizations that put on drab lunchtime speaking events. But Carol Wilding has made the Toronto Region Board of Trade an organization worth paying attention to. She’s weighed in on important policy matters. Wilding (who begins a new post this fall as CEO of the new Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario organization), hasn’t been afraid to take a stand, either. Last year, she put out a statement calling for Mayor Rob Ford to step down—while other business leaders were silent. Wilding even gave a speech lamenting the bad PR Ford was bringing to Toronto—with Ford in the room. He skulked out shortly afterward.

READ: Gridlock is costing Toronto up to $11 billion annually—here’s how to fix it »

#46 Mike Coates

President and CEO, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, AmericasHas crazy connections

There is no lobbyist in Ottawa with a longer history or stronger connections with government than Mike Coates. Before joining Hill+Knowlton more than 30 years ago, Coates served as a staffer to cabinet ministers in Joe Clark’s government. More recently, he helped Prime Minister Stephen Harper prepare for debates in three elections. He’s been a lobbyist on every politically sensitive merger or sale in Canada in the past decade. Now, the ultimate Ottawa insider is moving to New York, where he’ll lead his firm’s new regional operation.

READ: Putting Canada’s economy first, no apologies—Mike Coates »

#47 Daryl Katz

Chairman, Katz Group; Owner, Edmonton OilersIs remaking the city of Edmonton in his image

You don’t hear much about Daryl Katz east of the 100th meridian. The billionaire behind the Rexall pharmacy chain is best known as the reclusive, hockey-haired owner of the Edmonton Oilers. But in his hometown, Katz is at the centre of a $1-billion play to reshape Edmonton’s skyline. The dealmaking exec has found ways to exert his influence without opening his wallet much. First, he convinced the city of Edmonton to pony up $480 million of the $600-million price tag on a new 20,000-seat arena for his beloved Oilers—including light rail connections, a pedestrian corridor and a bridge to bring Edmontonians into the House of Katz. Next he broke ground on a 27-storey office tower that, when completed, will be largely leased back to the city to house 2,000 staffers. He’s hinted that more projects are in the works.

READ: The new Edmonton arena got funded—here’s how »

#48 Peter Gilgan

President and CEO, Mattamy HomesMay have built the home you live in

When Peter Gilgan buys property in the Sunshine State, he buys big: he recently walked away with 9,650 acres of prime land south of Tampa. The founder and owner of Mattamy Homes, Canada’s largest new-home builder, has been pushing into the U.S. for years, but his latest deal is his biggest move into the U.S. in a decade. Gilgan is set to begin construction on more than 11,000 homes and 3 million square feet of commercial development in 2016.

ARCHIVES: Peter Gilgan—The Builder »

#49 Jochen Tilk

CEO, Potash Corp.Hopes his gamble on potash works

He couldn’t be more different from his bombastic predecessor, Bill Doyle, whose name became synonymous with Potash Corp. during his 30-year reign. Incoming CEO Jochen Tilk is low-key, but not low-impact: Global potash cartels are collapsing, and his decision to stick to a price-driven strategy for potash could pay off big time—or backfire—for a key Canadian industry. Here’s hoping it’s the former.

READ: Jochen Tilk takes over as Potash Corp CEO just as its cartel model crumbles »

#50 Bruce Kuwabara

Founding Partner, KPMB ArchitectsExports design talent to head offices around the world

Bruce Kuwabara is the “K” in KPMB, which, over the slow burn of its 26-year history, has become the hottest architecture firm in Canada. Now, thanks in part to Kuwabara’s leadership, KPMB has grown into a global force, winning major international bids and becoming a leading exporter of a particularly Canadian brand of design thinking. With a recent client list including Goldman Sachs, Princeton University, Deloitte, the 2015 Pan Am Games and the Kellogg School of Management, KPMB is proving it can compete and win against some of the biggest “starchitects” in the world. Not only that, but by designing their offices, Kuwabara is quite literally changing how some of world’s most powerful people work.

Read the full profile of Bruce Kuwabara »

Black and white portrait of KPMB Founding partner Bruce Kuwabara

(Raina + Wilson)