Robert Prichard: Wikis


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For the theologian at Virginia Theological Seminary, see Robert Prichard (theologian)

Robert Prichard

In office
Preceded by George Connell
Succeeded by Robert J. Birgeneau

Born 1949
London, England
Alma mater Swarthmore College
University of Chicago
University of Toronto
Yale University

John Robert Stobo Prichard, OC, O.Ont (born 1949) is a Canadian lawyer, economist, and academic.



Born in London, England, Prichard attended prep school at Upper Canada College before studying economics at Swarthmore College, business at the University of Chicago, and law at the University of Toronto and Yale Law School.

Prichard joined the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto in 1976. He served as Dean of the faculty from 1984 to 1990.

Prichard was appointed the thirteenth president of the University of Toronto in 1990, a position which he held until 2000. During his ten years as president, the U of T's endowment rose to $1.4 billion dollars, the most of any Canadian university. During his term as president, Prichard endured the agony of having his youngest son battle a very dangerous form of cancer. Prichard was also criticized for his handling of the Dr. Chun discrimination case.

Toronto Star

Upon leaving the University of Toronto, Prichard became the president of the Star Media Group and chief operating officer of the Torstar Corporation in May 2001. In 2004, Prichard pushed out John Honderich as publisher of the Toronto Star because he resisted making the deep cost cuts that Prichard demanded.[1] However, in 2006, Honderich, a Torstar director who chairs a voting trust comprising five families that control Torstar, instigated a "coup" among the five families that resulted in the termination of Prichard's chosen publisher Michael Goldbloom and editor-in-chief Giles Gherson.[2] Some have suggested that Torstar's financial woes have been caused by Prichard's distraction by his presence on several boards, including Onex and Four Seasons and it's been an open secret for years that he would love to be a Liberal MP.[3]

Prichard is the past Vice-Chair of the Upper Canada College Board of Governors and is currently a Governor of the Canadian Unity Council. In addition, he currently serves as Vice-Chair of UCC's Boarding Task Force, which has the mandate of determining whether the school should shut down its boarding programme. Prichard is also a member of the Order of Ontario and an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Prichard has also been a member of Imasco's board of directors since 1993. Imasco owns and controls Imperial Tobacco, the largest tobacco manufacturer in Canada. Prichard's involvement with Imasco was the subject of criticism, due to a perceived conflict of interest for his role as university head. During Prichard's term as president, the University of Toronto accepted $2 million dollars from Imasco between 1997 and 1999. In 1998, Imasco contributed just over $2.5 million to educational institutions across the country. Similar conflict of interest concerns have been raised about the 2005 deal engineered by Prichard by which Torstar acquired a 20 per cent stake in broadcaster and rival publisher Bell Globemedia Inc.[4]

Political work

In 1995, Prichard served on a committee struck by Mike Harris' transition team in the wake of his 1995 Ontario election win. Initiated by Bill Farlinger, the committee included Prichard, former Tory provincial treasurer Darcy McKeough, and party insider Jim Bailey, assisted by a group of lawyers of Conservative sympathies.[citation needed] Their task was to vet the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario caucus for potential cabinet ministers for Harris' incoming provincial government.

Prichard was later named a trustee of the Ontario Innovation Trust, established by the Harris government to fund scientific research and development. The provincial auditor questioned the trust's transparency, and political critics attacked it as a vehicle to fund programs outside regular channels of public scrutiny.[citation needed]

Robert Prichard was deemed by several political insiders to be a contender in the race to become Liberal Party Leader, following the resignation of former Prime Minister Paul Martin.[5]


  1. ^ Gordon Pitts, "Honderich said ousted over cost cuts; Observers say CEO Robert Prichard told Star publisher to go after he re-sisted demands to slash costs ", "The Globe and Mail", January 27, 2004
  2. ^ Sinclair Stewart, Grant Robertson and Jacquie Mcnish, "Private feud, public company; Torstar's share price and flagship Star newspaper have been bleeding along with most of its industry peers.", "The Globe and Mail", October 21, 2006
  3. ^ Eric Reguly, "Knives may be out for Torstar's Prichard", "The Globe and Mail", October 17, 2006
  4. ^ David Bruser, "Media map rewritten as Torstar buys into rival", "The Toronto Star", December 3, 2005
  5. ^ "Reg Alcock backs Stronach's Grit leadership bid". Retrieved 2007-01-04. 

Active Member of Bilderberg Group. Present at 2009 Greece Bilderberg Meeting.

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