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Billionaire Ken Thomson dead at 82 -- a media baron in the literal sense

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Double J, Jun 13, 2006.

  1. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    The richest man in Canada died of an apparent heart attack Monday morning at his desk in his Toronto office, from where he controlled a $30-billion media empire that his father started in 1934 with a northern Ontario radio station.

    His personal fortune was estimated at $19.6 billion US, making him the ninth richest person in the world according to Forbes, and he was infamous for his frugality. But he was also well known as an art collector and benefactor, gifting the Art Gallery of Ontario with the bulk of his $300-million collection.


    His oldest son David took over as chairman of the Thomson Corporation in 2002. Now, on his 48th birthday, he succeeds also to the chairmanship of the Woodbridge Company, the family's holding company, and to the British peerage as the 3rd Baron Thomson of Fleet.

  2. Flash

    Flash Guest

    A friend who used to work for a Thomson paper told me the reporters had to make their own notebooks out of the roll ends. And before they could get new pencils, they had to turn in the old ones to prove they were down to stubs.
    No wonder he was so freakin' rich.
  3. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    That's true. Like I said, infamous for his frugality. Perhaps notorious would have been even more appropriate.

    But it wasn't like he basked in his wealth or anything luxurious that could be misconstrued as Conrad Black/Barbara Amiel-type behaviour. The Toronto Star story notes how he would eat at the Golden Griddle restaurant, which is certainly a step or two down from any number of five-star joints where they would happily have thrown rose petals at his feet had he deigned to ever walk through the door.

    He just seemed to be a bashful person and a very reluctant public figure, unlike his flamboyant father. He refused to take his seat in the House of Lords and was careful to never use his title in Canada, saying once that he led a "schizophrenic" existence in that he was Baron Thomson in England but in Toronto he was allowed to just "be Ken."

  4. Flash

    Flash Guest

    Oh don't get me wrong. They've all told me he was a decent guy to work for.

    And his donations of art to public galleries is exemplary. Certainly a model businessperson.
  5. Monday Morning Sportswriter

    Monday Morning Sportswriter Well-Known Member

    Best move they ever did was unload those newspapers.

    And I'll bet there isn't a single ex-Thomson paper that isn't better off now than seven years ago.
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