Canadian businessman George T Richardson, who served at the helm of his family business for 34 years, has died, aged 89.
James Richardson & Sons, established by Richardson’s great-grandfather in 1857, is 100% family owned and operates in the grain trade, as well as energy, real estate, financial services and investments. The company does not release revenues, but this year Canadian Business pegged the wealth of the Richardson family at $4.5 billion (€3 billion).
In a statement, released this week the company said Richardson, “a proud Manitoban and a proud Canadian” passed away on Wednesday. With his wife, Tannis, he had four children, and his son Hartley is the company’s current president.
Richardson was born in Winnipeg in 1924 and joined the family business in 1946, the same year he graduated from the University of Manitoba. He was initially assigned to one of the family business’s port terminals in Ontario where grain was shifted for export.
By 1954 Richardson had become vice president of the firm, and in 1966 he became president – a post he held until for 27 years. During this time he expanded grain business Pioneer Grain and grew Richardson Securities of Canada into the largest privately-owned investment dealer in the country through a merger in 1982 with Greenshields Inc.
A statement released by the company to announce his death, said Richardson’s availability to staff and business associates was exhibited by the fact that his office door was always open and he answered his own telephone.
Richardson stepped down as president in 1993, making way for his son Hartley, then becoming chairman and managing director. He officially retired from the family firm in 2000, but remained honorary chairman and director emeritus until his death.
Outside the business, Richardson was dedicated to conservation and the environment. He was also an avid helicopter pilot and sportsman, as well as a devoted family man.
Richardson is survived by his wife and two sons, and predeceased by two daughters, Pamela and Karen. He also leaves behind nine grandchildren.