Activism Succeeds in Canada: A New Era?

On Feb. 27, 2013, the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business will host, “The CPR Activist Campaign and the Implications for the Canadian Establishment” event.

The seminar is being offered by the school’s investment club and it will feature the Canadian author and journalist Peter C. Newman and Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P. Partner and Canadian Pacific Director Paul Hilal.

Activism Succeeds in Canada: A New Era?

The three-hour event will include networking and a key address by Newman on his thesis, “Eclipse and Rebirth of Canada’s Business Elite: From Aristocracy to Meritocracy.” A Q&A session will follow with Wes Hall of Kingsdale Shareholder Services serving as the moderator.

The free event will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Ivey ING Direct Leadership Centre in Toronto.

Here at ValueWalk, we’ve been following the CPR activist campaign and its implications on the Canadian Establishment and corporate governance in Canada. CPR has played a monumental role in the founding, development and industrialization of the nation. Its board of directors has always comprised the most eminent, and ‘untouchable’ members of the business/financial/political elite in Canada.

What’s interesting about this story is that a foreign hedge fund, Pershing Square Capital Management L.P, was able to successfully win shareholder support–notably from other establishment players such as Canada Pension Plan, Ontario Teacher Pension Fund–and depose the CPR board members.

It has become a watershed event in the history of Canadian business and will have implications for all related parties such as board of directors, managers and investors.

For Newman, he has has been advancing his thesis that the Canadian Establishment, once an old-boys club that ruled the country, is dying and that the CPR coup was the nail in the coffin, exemplifying a rise for a new class of businessmen and entrepreneurs. He has written numerous books including his trilogy, ‘The Canadian Establishment’ and is considered Canada’s top chronicler of business power but how it’s used and abused.

He has an engaging presentation style that has been said to mirror his literary style. This has been described as “a mixture of ground glass and Turkish Delight.” Look for Newman to deliver surprising new facts and insights on Canada’s future and the major business and political players at this February presentation.

The evening’s other guest, Hilal, is a partner at Pershing Square. He joined the firm in 2006 and prior to that, from 2002 to 2005, he was the Managing Partner of Caliber Capital Management, LP. He has held other investment roles including the running of his own firm, Hilal Capital Management (1998 to 2001), Broadview Associates (1992-1997), and Chairman of the Board and Interim Chief Executive Officer of Worldtalk Communications Corporation (1999-2000).

He has an A.B. degree in Biochemistry from Harvard College (1988), a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law/M.B.A. from Columbia University School of Business (1992).

Take a look at some of our coverage of the CPR story:


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