Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bill Black to the Bank of Canada

Bill Black is a great man. Razor-sharp, he graduated from Dalhousie with two degrees at 19. He then started his long and methodical ascent to the top of Maritime Life, a company of which his great-grandfather was a founder but which was long since owned by The John Hancock. He became President and CEO in 1994 and led the company through incredible expansion (He can spellbind you with his acquisition tales). When Hancock (and thus Maritime) was bought out by Manulife, Bill chose to stick it out in Halifax. He left business with a record paralleled by few and a loyalty among employees rivalled by even fewer.

Bill entered politics about a year ago, seeking the nomination in his Halifax riding, and then running for the leadership of his party when John Hamm resigned. I left school to work full-time on his campaign. Bill took a gamble on having a kid from Montreal who knew politics by the book but not by practice write his campaign plan and help him set up his ground organization. I can't say the gamble paid off. He lost a close race when the party closed ranks. The merits of that party's choice are now pretty apparent, I should like to think. One can't know for certain. But I can know this for certain: Bill Black is one of the smartest people I have ever met and one of the most decent. He is unfailingly proud and loyal to his family. He has ethics of the highest order. He is incredibly demanding of those who work for him but incredibly forgiving of mistakes made in good faith. And he's a decent golfer (though I think it was a draw between he and Andrew and I at Mahone Bay this summer). So, this is a great appointment. Well done on Jim Flaherty.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Agreed, Minister Flaherty showeed excellent judgement with the Bill Black appointment.

I helped with the Bill Black leadership campaign that Peter directed. It was an excellent campaign, but could not surmount the fear on the part of the elected provincial caucus, of change and the possibility of new ways of doing things. he would have been a superb leader and premier. He will be an excellent addition to the Bank of Canada Board, but I would still like to see him in a major political/government role.

Peter Loewen said...

I know many people would.

As for the campaign, it was only excellent because of the great people who did the real work on the ground.

Devin said...

Peter:

It's a much better place for him than the Premier's office...

Peter Loewen said...

I know. It must be tough to have his opportunities.