Wednesday, August 7, 2013

In praise of an honourable capitalist

Yes, I truly believe they can be found. Unfortunately it's the sleaze-bag "activist investors" and self-dealing hedgies who get most of the accolades.

But Robert Schad is one of the good guys. Schad was one of that generation of post WW II European immigrants who spent his life building up a company from nothing. The company he built, Husky Injection Molding, was known far and wide as a leader in corporate social responsibility.

In 2008 Schad sold the company for some 800 million to one of the above, who made it more efficient by stripping many of the benefits that Schad had provided his former employees, and then sold it on to another group of hedge funds for two billion.

Long before he sold out Schad had started a joint venture with a First Nation  community in Ontario. The current owners of Husky have since forced the closure of that operation for reasons that seem to have more to do with spite than anything legitimate. Reading the story of Mr. Schad's contribution to that native community underlines just what a mensch he is.

Mr. Schad is also the guy who gets credit for ending Ontario's spring bear hunt, which I once did a satirical take on. I've recently heard another version of the same story, in which far from being pals with Premier Harris, Schad supposedly told him that if he didn't cancel the hunt he was going to donate a million dollars to the Liberal party.

Regardless of which version is true, that cancellation is one of the few blots on an otherwise saintly resume.

Or not, depending on how you feel about bear hunting.

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