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George Cope named 2013 Ivey Business Leader of the Year

  • Communications
  • |
  • Mar 7, 2013
George Cope named 2013 Ivey Business Leader of the Year

LONDON, ON – March 7th, 2013 – George Cope, HBA ’84, President and CEO of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada, will receive the 2013 Ivey Business Leader Award and address Canada’s prominent business leaders at the annual gala dinner in Toronto on October 29, 2013.

Since assuming the CEO role at Bell in 2008, Mr. Cope has transformed Canada’s largest communications company with a strategy of investment in world-leading broadband networks, next-generation communications products for consumers and business, and leading Canadian content. Re-energized as a customer-focused innovator, Bell has enhanced competition and choice in Canadian communications while delivering significant returns to Bell shareholders.

“George Cope is a force for change, who is always several steps ahead of everyone else in the room,” said Carol Stephenson, Dean of the Ivey Business School. “Not only has he transformed the landscape of telecommunications in Canada, but he also uses his influence to bring attention to social issues within our broader community.”

Under Mr. Cope’s leadership, Bell launched an unprecedented charitable initiative called Bell Let’s Talk that is dedicated to the promotion and support of mental health across Canada. Built on 4 pillars – anti-stigma, enhanced care and access, workplace best practices, and new Canadian research – the Bell Let’s Talk is supporting mental health programs at leading hospitals, universities and community groups alike.

On the latest Bell Let’s Talk Day, February 12, a record number of Canadians joined the conversation, sending more than 96 million texts, tweets, Facebook shares and long-distance calls to help fight the stigma around mental illness. With Bell donating 5 cents for each of these messages, Canadian mental health programs will receive an additional $4,813,313.30 in funding –bringing the total Bell Let’s Talk commitment to more than $62 million. 

“George Cope stands out as a tremendous leader in corporate Canada,” said Jill Denham, HBA ’83, Chair of the Ivey Business Leader Award Dinner. “He has a rare combination of business acumen, entrepreneurial drive and philanthropic energy, and we are very proud to honour him as Ivey Business Leader of the Year.”

Mr. Cope has been a Canadian telecommunications executive for more than 25 years. As CEO of wireless startup Clearnet Communications, he successfully launched two national digital wireless networks. Clearnet was acquired in 2000 for $6.6 billion, still the largest transaction in Canadian telecom history. He then served as President and CEO of Telus Mobility, where he successfully rebuilt the regional carrier into a strong national wireless competitor, before joining Bell as President and Chief Operating Officer in 2006.

Mr. Cope is serving this year as the 2013 United Way Toronto Campaign Chair. A past recipient of Canada's Top 40 Under 40 Award, he is a Director of the Bank of Montreal and serves on the Advisory Board of the Ivey Business School.

The Ivey Business Leader Award will be presented at a black-tie dinner at Toronto's Ritz Carlton Hotel. Proceeds from the annual event have supported the Ivey Alumni Association Toronto Chapter HBA and MBA Scholarships established to attract top students to the School and the Toronto Alumni Professorship in Business Leadership, and will now support the new Ivey Building.

Mr. Cope is a 1984 Ivey HBA graduate, and was a member of the Western Mustangs varsity basketball team. He received an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Laws, honoris causa) during Ivey Convocation in 2012.

He joins an esteemed list of past Ivey Business Leader Award recipients demonstrating leadership in both business and their communities. Past recipients of the award include:

  • 2012:        Rick George, Former CEO Suncor Inc.
  • 2011:        Ed Clark, Group President and CEO of TD Bank Group (TD) 
  • 2010:        Peter Munk, Founder and Chairman of Barrick Gold Corporation
  • 2009:        Richard J. Currie, Past Chairman, BCE Inc. and former President, Loblaw            Companies Limited and George Weston Limited
  • 2008:        Dominic D'Alessandro, President & CEO, Manulife Financial
  • 2007:        Claude Lamoureux, President & CEO and Robert Bertram, Executive Vice-President, Investments, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
  • 2006:        Isadore Sharp, Chairman and CEO, Four Seasons Hotels Inc.
  • 2005:        Peter Godsoe, former Chairman and CEO, The Bank of Nova Scotia
  • 2002:        Gwyn Morgan, President and CEO, EnCana Corporation
  • 2001:        Harrison McCain, Chairman, McCain Foods Limited, and G. Wallace      McCain, Chairman, Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
  • 2000:        Purdy Crawford, Chairman, AT&T Canada; former Chairman Imasco and Canada Trust
  • 1999:        Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, led by Prem Watsa, Chairman
  • 1998:        Paul Desmarais, Chairman of the Executive Committee, Power
                    Corporation of Canada
  • 1997:        Frank Stronach, Chairman of the Board, Magna International Inc.
  • 1996:        Jean C. Monty, President and CEO, Northern Telecom Limited
  • 1995:        R. Jack Lawrence, Deputy Chairman, Nesbitt Burns Inc.
  • 1994:        Robert Nourse, President and CEO, The Bombay Company Inc.
  • 1993:        Cedric E. Ritchie, Chairman, The Bank of Nova Scotia
  • 1992:        John C. Carroll, President and CEO, Molson Breweries
  • 1991:        John M. Thompson, Chairman and CEO, IBM Canada Limited


About the Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University

The Richard Ivey School of Business ( at Western University is Canada’s leading provider of relevant, innovative and comprehensive business education. Drawing on extensive research and business experience, Ivey faculty provide the best classroom experience, equipping graduates with the skills and capabilities they need to tackle the leadership challenges in today’s complex business world. Ivey offers world-renowned undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as Executive Education at campuses in London (Ontario), Toronto and Hong Kong.

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Ivey Business School