Alumni Western Be Extraordinary The Campaign For Western


Globe and Mail | January 24, 2012

calvin mcdonald
CEO and President, Sears Canada Inc.

At 19, Calvin McDonald knew exactly what he wanted to be: a homicide detective. But when he applied for work with the RCMP and the Ontario Provincial Police, both organizations turned him away.

“They said, ‘You’ve always lived at home, so you have to show us you can function on your own,’” recalls Mr. McDonald, who lives in Toronto with his wife and four young children. “At the time, I was working at Loblaws as a grocery clerk, so I applied for a job at head office with the intention of applying again to the [police] forces in a year.”

Mr. McDonald, who has a degree in biology from Western Ontario and an MBA from the University of Toronto, never reapplied to the police forces. Instead, he says, he fell in love with retail and his employer, Toronto-based Loblaw Companies Limited, which owns Loblaws and No Frills grocery stores across the country.

And they in turn, liked him.  He became Loblaws' executive vice-president where he introduced PC – short for President’s Choice – built its online business – including the Insider’s Club – mobile phones and the development of PC TV, which airs on the Food Network and local Global television stations.

In June 2011, he joined Sears Canada Inc. as its new CEO and President. Here, Mr. McDonald is girding for a turnaround by doing what he did at Loblaws: going back to the basics.

“We have to do things differently,” said Mr. McDonald, who at 40 juggles training for triathlons and co-parenting four children – aged two to 10 – with his day job. “It starts with acting and behaving differently … The big theme for us is just getting the basics: major appliances and mattresses. Big-ticket purchases.”

McDonald graduated from Western in 1994 with his Bachelor of Science with a focus in Biology. During his time at Western he was an active member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity.

Five Western alumni were named Top 40 Under 40TM in 2011, one of Canada's most prestigious honours for young leaders. Western is proud to have more undergraduate and MBA recipients than any other Canadian university with more than 70 alumni on the Top 40 Under 40 list.

Read the complete story: Globe and Mail

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