My employer, Canwest Global Communications Corp, has sold it’s 46 newspapers to a group of bondholders fronted by Paul Godfrey, president and CEO of the National Post. Canwest has been operating under court supervision since 2009 and has struggled since the death of it’s founder Israel Asper, it’s purchase of expensive acquisitions and the downward spiral in advertising revenues for newspapers and television during the recent global recession. All combined to force David and Gail Asper, the son and daughter of Canwest Global Communications founder, to resign from the media conglomerate’s board of directors and the company to come under control of it’s creditors.
I can’t say I’m unhappy to be free of Canwest and Mr. Godfrey appears to be an astute business man, savvy politician and media manager. Here’s a few fast facts:
- Graduated University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Applied Science in chemical engineering
- Alderman in the borough of North York 1964 – 1973
- Chairman of Metropolitan Toronto 1973 – 1984
- Member of Ontario Premier Frank Miller’s informal ‘kitchen cabinet’
- Publisher and CEO of The Toronto Sun – 1984
- Appointed to the board of Stadium Corporation of Ontario – 1984
- Succeeded founder Doug Creighton as president and chief operating officer of Toronto Sun Publishing – 1991
- Order of Canada – April 1999
- President and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball club – 2000
- Named president and CEO of The National Post – 2008
As with any new boss, Canwest employees are wondering what’s next for the newspaper chain, who will survive, who will thrive and who will be knocked out of the park like an errant fly-ball. Mr. Godfrey answered a few of those questions (sort of) on the CBC Radio show As It Happens which I’ve included below. I, for one, welcome the change and hope it’s the dawn of a new, productive and profitable era for our city’s newspapers.
Paul Godfrey on CBC Radio – Click play button to listen