Galen Weston and the Power of Failure
Galen G. Weston, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of George Weston Limited and Loblaw Companies Limited, received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree during Schulich’s Spring Convocation on June 22nd.
In the citation read prior to conferring his honorary degree, Weston was lauded “for his transformational, responsible and long-term oriented leadership – the same principles that we at the Schulich School of Business also embrace and promote.”
He is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at Schulich, an adviser to the School’s Global Retail Management program, a dedicated philanthropist and President of the W. Garfield Weston Foundation.
This year, the Foundation celebrated its 60th anniversary and has donated over $400 million to education, the arts, human microbiome and neurological health, land conservation, and science in Canada’s North.
In his convocation remarks, Weston spoke about his own trials and tribulations: “When I took over 12 years ago, we had to spend billions fixing the corners of the business that our customers would never see, our IT systems, our supply chain, they were broken. Other struggles followed, some big, some small. For example, I was on a CBC reality television cooking show, it got cancelled. I was responsible for something called ‘No Name Red’ and ‘No Name White’ – those were wines by the way, and they were also cancelled.”
Galen Weston is the fourth generation of his family to lead the company, which was originally founded in 1882. George Weston is Canada’s largest non-financial company by revenue and employs more than 200,000 people, making it the country’s largest private sector employer.
He is also the author of the chapter “Family Firms and Patient Capital: Thinking in Decades, Not Quarters”, published in the book Re-Imagining Capitalism, which Schulich produced in collaboration with McKinsey and Company.
Weston concluded his speech by sharing some words of wisdom with the graduates: “Success is actually moving from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm. As you head out into your life, take what you have learned from this great university, be brave and never lose your enthusiasm.”