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Rahul Bhardwaj, President and CEO, Institute of Corporate Directors in conversation with Ivey Business Journal Editor, Tom Watson

Monday, December 7, 2020

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The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.

Rahul Bhardwaj, President and CEO, Institute of Corporate Directors in conversation with Ivey Business Journal Editor, Tom Watson

The Pandemic’s Legacy: Old Habits and New Possibilities

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed both an unprecedented governance challenge and ushered in a period of extraordinary experimentation and innovation. It is time for boards to question old habits and imagine new possibilities.

Keynote Speaker

Rahul Bhardwaj, ICD.D

President & Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Corporate Directors

As President and CEO of the Institute of Corporate Directors, Rahul K. Bhardwaj leads an organization of over 15,000 members committed to improving national outcomes by growing the board leadership and governance capacities within Canadian businesses, agencies and not-for-profits.

Mr. Bhardwaj currently serves on the board of the Rideau Hall Foundation, supporting the office of the Governor General of Canada as it connects, inspires and honours Canadians, the Executive Committee of the Global Network of Director Institutes, as well as the Leader Council at the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership at the Ivey Business School.

He was Chair of the 2012 Ontario Summer Games, the first multi-sport games to be held in Toronto, and was Co-chair of TO2015 IGNITE, a program of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am & Parapan Am Games.  Other past board commitments include founding board member of Metrolinx and Chair of the Governance Committee, Chair of the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, Chair of Community Foundations of Canada, Upper Canada College, George Brown College, Stratford Festival of Canada and United Way of Toronto, among others.

Prior to joining the ICD, Mr. Bhardwaj was a corporate lawyer at a leading Canadian law firm, and then later, President and CEO of the Toronto Foundation, where he focused on engaging philanthropy to improve the quality of life in Toronto.  He was also Vice President of the Toronto 2008 Olympic Bid and, as part of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Fiscal review panel in 2008, Mr. Bhardwaj was involved in identifying efficiencies for the City of Toronto.

In 2012, Mr. Bhardwaj’s commitment to city building was recognized as he received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.  He has been named one of “The 50 Most Influential” people in the city by Toronto Life magazine, and was named to the Quadrangle Society at Massey College and The Ultimate List of Social CEOs on Twitter.  His vision for Toronto and Canada has made him a sought-after presenter and speaker locally, nationally and internationally, particularly on issues relating to leadership and governance.

In Conversation With

Tom Watson

Ivey Business Journal Editor

Thomas Watson (Twitter: @NotSocrates) is a Canadian journalist and business consultant who covers major market events and trends as Financial Post Magazine’s Big Picture columnist and edits Ivey Business Journal, one of Canada’s oldest resources for business professionals published by the Ivey Business School at Western University. Watson also works with Ivey’s leadership institute to promote best practices in management and corporate governance, and creates customized content for select Ivey Academy executive education programs. As a case writer, Watson consults with Ivey faculty to develop educational material on high-profile topics, ranging from the role that personal ethics should play when investment bankers consider backing controversial businesses such as the Ashley Madison adultery service to whether or not the resignation of former Liberal Cabinet minister Jane Philpott was warranted. As a guest lecturer on financial-sector whistle blowing, Watson shares his experience as a senior executive at a European venture capital firm who was ostracized after uncovering an international stock manipulation scheme aimed at Canada’s Open Text during the dotcom boom, which led to a decade-long investigative reporting career at Canadian Business magazine. Watson’s work as a journalist has been repeatedly recognized for excellence by the National Media Awards Foundation. Highlights include: “Shell Games,” an exposé of criminal boiler rooms that destroyed the lives of naive pensioners to help finance struggling Canadian ventures, including Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlours, during the 2008 financial crisis; “ABCP: Hunter and the Hunted,” an exclusive profile of the retail investor who launched a rebellion against Bay Street for flogging high-risk asset-backed commercial paper like GICs; “The Trials and Tribulations of Brian Hunter,” an inside account of how politics led to the multi-billion-dollar implosion of the Amaranth Advisers hedge fund in 2006; and “An Apology for Eleanor Clitheroe,” an exclusive profile of the sexism and hypocrisy that derailed Hydro One’s failed attempt to go public with a female CEO in 2002.