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Paul Victor Godfrey, CM is a businessman and former Canadianmarker politician. During his career, Godfrey was a North York alderman, Chairman of Metro Toronto, President of the Toronto Sun and head of the Toronto Blue Jays. He was instrumental in bring the Toronto Blue Jays to Toronto and has campaigned to bring the National Football League to Toronto. Recently he has been named president and CEO of The National Post, starting in 2009. On November 27, 2009, Godfrey was announced as the new chair of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

Background

Born in Toronto, Ontariomarker, Godfrey grew up in a working class Jewish family near the Kensington Marketmarker neighbourhood of Toronto ) and later moved to the Bathurstmarker and Lawrence area of North York. After graduating from Bathurst Heights Secondary Schoolmarker, he attended the University of Torontomarker and graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science in chemical engineering. In 1999, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Politics

He entered politics as an alderman in the borough of North York in 1964, serving until 1973. That year, he was appointed Chairman of Metropolitan Toronto, serving until 1984.

In 1985 it was reported that Godfrey had joined the new Ontario Premier Frank Miller's informal 'kitchen cabinet', a group that got together Thursday mornings at the Sutton Place Hotel to discuss issues of the day during breakfast. This was similar to a 'breakfast club' setup by the previous premier Bill Davis but with a more right-wing bent.

Toronto Sun

In 1984, after he left politics he joined the Toronto Sun as publisher and CEO. In 1991 he succeeded founder Doug Creighton as president and chief operating officer of Toronto Sun Publishing. In 1992 he became CEO of the Toronto Sun Publishing replacing founder Doug Creighton. Creighton was forced to resign by the board of directors and the parent company, Maclean Hunter. In 1998, Godfrey organized a deal with Conrad Black to swap the Financial Post with four daily newspapers in southwestern Ontario. These included the Hamilton Spectator, Kitchener-Waterloo Record, Guelph Mercury, and Cambridge Reporter. In October 1998, Sun Media was approached by Torstar Corporation in an unsolicited takeover bid for $748 million. Godfrey said he was surprised by the move. Two months later Quebecor Media Inc. made a higher and eventually more successful bid for a reported $983 million. Godfrey was a key figure in seeking out Quebecor as an alternative buyer. After the sale, Quebecor, initially heralded as a 'white knight' buyer forced Godfrey to cut 180 jobs from his newspaper. In November 2000, Godfrey announced that he was stepping down as CEO of Sun Media. There was some speculation that he was uncomfortable while under the control of Quebecor. He remained on the board of Sun Media.

Skydome

In 1984 he was appointed to the board of a new crown agency called the Stadium Corporation of Ontario along with Larry Grossman and Hugh Macaulay. Its mandate was to choose the location and design for a new domed stadium that would eventually become the Skydomemarker. Godfrey stayed on the board until February 1989 when he resigned. He had been accused of being in a conflict of interest because of his involvement with a group lobbying for a NFL franchise in Toronto. Godfrey denied that there was any conflict and also denied that this had anything to do with his resignation. However, Godfrey remained on the board of directors of the Stadium Corporation, a separate entity, until 1998 when he resigned shortly before the Skydome filed for bankruptcy. He claimed that his resignation would have no effect on the process. Godfrey said "...It didn't make much sense to me to have separate directors and shareholder meetings when the shareholders should be making all the decisions...My resignation just streamlines the process."

Blue Jays

In 2000, Godfrey became president and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball club. He stepped down as president on September 22, 2008 after eight years. During his tenure, the Jays' payroll increased from $46 million US to $98 million US. While the Jays posted four out of eight seasons better than .500, they achieved no better than 2nd place in the tough American League East division. In 2004, the Blue Jays purchased the SkyDome for a paltry $25 million, far below its original construction cost of $600 million. The purchase gave Godfrey more latitude in controlling the total game experience.

Other positions

He is also a member of the board of directors of CanWest Global Communications, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, CargoJet Income Fund and Astral Media.

References

  1. CANOE - SLAM! Sports - NFL - NFL dangles a carrot
  2. NFL franchise for Toronto still just a dream
  3. http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/article/732025--paul-godfrey-appointed-by-liberals-to-head-troubled-olg
  4. Al Parker. Five Questions for Paul Godfrey. Toronto Sun. December 20, 2008. [1]
  5. Godfrey resigns as Sun Media CEO. CBC News. November 10, 2000
  6. Order of Canada citation. April 15, 1999
  7. Rosemary Speirs. Godfrey joins Miller's Thursday 'kitchen cabinet'. Toronto Star. march 8, 1985. pg. A1, A16.
  8. Bob Papoe. Paul Godfrey new Sun chief as Creighton forced to retire. Toronto Star. November 6, 1992. pg A1, D1, D6.,
  9. Rob Ferguson. Newspapers: Black swaps papers for Post. Toronto Star. July 21, 1998. pg A1.
  10. Les Whittington. Torstar bids $748 million for Sun newspaper chain. Toronto Star. October 29, 1998. pg A1, A30.
  11. Rob Ferguson, Jim Wilkes. Quebecor tops Torstar bid for Sun chain. Toronto Star. December 10, 1998. pg A1, A40.
  12. Rob Ferguson. Sun group axes 180 jobs. Toronto Star. March 3, 1999. Pg. A1
  13. David Miller. Battle is on for right to build our domed stadium. Toronto Star. October 7, 1984, pg A1, A13.
  14. Dan Smith, Tim Harper. Skydome director quits as critics tackle NFL bid. Toronto Star. pg A1, A2
  15. Tony Van Alphen. Two high profile directors quit SkyDome. Toronto Star. November 24, 1998. Pg. A1, A24
  16. Godfrey steps down as Jays president. CBC News. September 29 2008. [2]
  17. Godfrey steps down as Jays president. CBC News. October 22, 2008
  18. Blue Jays buying SkyDome for $25M. CBC News. November 29, 2004
  19. Paul Godfrey Named President and CEO, National Post. Canwest. December 1, 2008. [3]


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