Richest People

Canada’s Richest People: Terry Matthews

Canada’s Richest People
Terry Matthews
(Photo: Laura Leyshon/CP)

Terry Matthews

Net Worth:
$2.12 billion
(▲7.1% from 2017)

Rich 100 rank: #48
Change in rank from 2017: ▲6
Major company holdings: Mitel Networks, Wesley Clover, March Networks
Location: Ottawa
Age: 73

Having made his fortune in technology, Terry Matthews is moving back along the industrial evolutionary chain. In early 2016, he started Excalibur Steel UK to try to buy a mill in Port Talbot, in his native Wales. He also chairs the board of the Swansea Bay City Region, which is looking to create a digital hub in the city.

Matthews’s fortune is a lesson in what can happen when you reinvest in the community around you: Through various investment arms, Matthews can claim to be the godfather of about 120 startups. His first, Mitel, which he founded in 1972, was originally set up to import electric lawn mowers. But when the shipment was lost, he changed course, selling tone receivers to accommodate the push-button dial pads that were replacing rotary phones. When British Telecom bought a controlling stake in Mitel, he rolled the proceeds into the founding of Newbridge Networks, which sold to Alcatel for $10.8 billion in 2000.

In Wales, Matthews also owns Celtic Manor, a resort that hosted golf’s intercontinental Ryder Cup in 2010 and a NATO Summit four years later.

Updated Thursday, November 9, 2017