University of Calgary

University of Calgary

September 22, 2011 12:00 ET

University of Calgary: Forzani to join Haskayne faculty as 2011/12 resident fellow

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Sept. 22, 2011) - The Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary is honoured that John Forzani, co-founder and former chairman of the Forzani Group, has accepted the 2011/12 Jarislowsky fellowship in business management.

Forzani is a former Calgary Stampeder and a driven entrepreneur who built one small athletics equipment store into a multi-million dollar sports retailing empire across Canada. In 2005, he became a part-owner of the Calgary Stampeders and is now chairman of the CFL team. As the Jarislowsky fellow, he will spend several days on campus over the course of the academic year, and will be involved in student activities, in-class and public lectures, and a variety of functions where students, faculty, and alumni can learn from his extensive experience.

One of the selection criteria for the Jarislowsky fellow is retirement from the C-suite, so that the executive is able to bring real-life experience into the classroom. Forzani comes to campus just a month after stepping away from his successful retail enterprise. In May 2011, the Forzani Group was acquired by Canadian Tire Corp. in a friendly takeover worth $770 million. At the time, the company was Canada's largest retailer of sporting goods, offering brand name and private-brand products across all price points, operating close to 1000 stores across the country under six corporate banners and franchising under 11 different banners.

The past few months have involved a great deal of change for the Forzani leadership team as they hand over operations to Canadian Tire.

"As much as this transition in our business was necessary, it certainly isn't an easy change for us. We have always been a close-knit, family-oriented company, despite our rapid growth," says Forzani, "so there is some sadness involved. Having said that, I look forward to meeting with Haskayne students as I have the time to really engage with them and share what I've learned from these transformation experiences while they are still very fresh in my mind."

"This is a great opportunity for the faculty, staff, and students at the Haskayne School of Business to have direct access to one of this country's most renowned entrepreneurs and team-builders," adds Leonard Waverman, dean of the school. "His is the kind of wisdom we strive to share with our students as much as possible – which growth strategies work and what lessons can they learn from someone who has been deep in the trenches of building successful businesses and winning teams."

Forzani is a commerce graduate himself, earning his business administration degree from Utah State University in 1971. He has been recognized numerous times over his career for his philanthropic work across the country, much of it through the Forzani Group Foundation. Forzani has been honoured with Alberta Venture Magazine Alberta's Business Person of the Year; the Distinguished Business Leader Award from the University of Calgary and the Calgary Chamber of Commerce; the Retail Council of Canada Distinguished Canadian Retailer Award; the Canadian Institute of Retailing Services/Henry Singer Award; Prairies Region Entrepreneur of the Year; and the Calgary Regional Health Association and CFCN Television Leaders in Business Award.

The Jarislowsky Resident Fellow in Business Management is the result of a million-dollar gift to the Haskayne School of Business by Stephen A. Jarislowsky, founder of the investment management firm Jarislowsky Fraser. The gift was matched by the Government of Alberta's Access to the Future Fund. Forzani plans to direct his honorarium to the Calgary Dinos football team to provide support for its coaching staff.

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Contact Information

  • University of Calgary
    Kim Lawrence
    Director, Communications and Marketing,
    Haskayne School of Business
    403.220.3375 or Cell: 403.970.5146
    kalawren@ucalgary.ca