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Headquarters.

WINNIPEG'S PUBLICLY-TRADED COMPANIES OFFER MORE THAN JOBS. THEY'RE WORLD CALLING CARDS.

Manitoba's publicly-traded companies with head offices in Winnipeg and listings on the Toronto Stock Exchange are among the most powerful corporations in Canada.

Companies such as I.H. Asper's CanWest Global Communications Corp., Investor's Group, one of Canada's most successful mutual fund groups, the monolithic Great West Life Assurance Company, and mortgage lender Inland Trust, and Moffat Communications mean many things to Winnipeg.

Sandy Hopkins, the new president of Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and vice-president of marketing for Bison Diversified, says head offices are valuable to a city.

"Head offices offer jobs that are disproportionate to the amount of business that they do in Winnipeg," says Hopkins. "A lot of their business and services are exported, but they run the business from here, creating many administrative positions."

Chief executives of these companies are based in Winnipeg, bringing their own blend of intelligence to the business community. When Winnipeg needed a chairman for the Grey Cup Festival it turned to Arthur Mauro, chairman of Investor's Group. For his success, he was named Marketer of the Year by the Sales and Marketing Executives of Winnipeg.

Says Hopkins, "These high-profile executives are absolutely essential to the guidance of non-profit boards. They would be significantly less successful without them." Hopkins says volunteer boards, such as those in the arts and in hospitals, gain from the how-to knowledge of executives, as well as their financial donations.

Great West's president and CEO, John Green, among other volunteer positions, is a vice-chairman of the board of the St. Boniface Hospital Research Foundation and a director on the board of Junior Achievement of Canada. Ken Cooper, the president of Inland Trust, is also active in the community. He is governor and chairman of the finance committee of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, board member and chairman of the finance committee of the Manitoba Lotteries Foundation and a board member and vice-president of the Manitoba Theatre for Young People.

Jerry Gray, associate dean of the Faculty of Management Studies at the University of Manitoba says, "Corporate executives greatly affect the dedication to the faculty here because of their clout and calibre." He says the business community plays a pivotal role in such initiatives as the associates program, which has 230 business members helping students with work experience. According to Gray, in eastern Canada all management schools are well connected with the business sector.

Albert Cohen, CEO of Gendis Inc., the owner of Saan and Metropolitan Stores, is a major contributor to the University of Manitoba's faculty of management studies and St. John's Ravenscourt among others. Jack Fraser, chairman of Federal Industries, was responsible in part for recruiting the head of the faculty, William Mackness to come to the university.

And there are other intangible effects that company headquarters have on their home cities. For instance when CanWest, Canada's second largest independent television network, was bidding for a piece of CFCF Television in Montreal, a sense of high stakes Monopoly gave Winnipeggers the same kind of pride that can be raised by a winning hockey team. The deal failed, but CanWest later gained a piece of a television network in New Zealand, adding to its plan for international distribution of Canada-made television shows.

And a company doesn't have to be enormous to become the centre of attention. Inland's total business is investment in residential mortgages, mostly in the rich and active B.C. market, with funds raised in rural Manitoba through RRSP money. Inland is owned by 14 investors and employs about 20 people in its office.

The North West Company Inc., the dominant retailer in Canada's north, from coast to coast, employs about 350 people in its head office to look after the needs of 3,500 employees nationally. Recently, it announced the creation of 50 jobs immediately by centralizing its national warehousing in Winnipeg and predicted the creation of another 180 long-term positions.

Acklands Ltd., a national auto part supplier that employs about 200 people in administrative and distribution jobs, is perhaps the best advertisement for having a head office here. Its chief executives were moved to Toronto several years ago but the decision to move the accounting department and distribution centre there was reversed. Gerry McCallum, the company's controller, says it's far cheaper to run head offices in Winnipeg. "I moved to Toronto and came back," he says.
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Title Annotation:economic benefits to Winnipeg, Canada, of being site of corporate head offices
Author:Gage, Ritchie
Publication:Manitoba Business
Date:Jun 1, 1992
Words:731
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