Charles Bronfman

1982 Economic Economic

Charles Rosner Bronfman is the second son of Samuel and Saidye Bronfman and grandson of Yechiel (Ekiel) Bronfman, who brought the Bronfman Family to Canada from Russia. The family established a large financial empire that grew out of the liquor business started by Yechiel Bronfman. Charles Bronfman was raised in Montréal and was educated at Selwyn House School in Montréal; Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario; and McGill University.

Charles Bronfman and his brother Edgar inherited the Seagram Company Limited, which began as Distillers Corporation Ltd in Montréal. The company was founded by Sam Bronfman in 1924 and merged in 1928 with Joseph E. Seagram & Sons of Waterloo, Ontario, to become Distillers Corporation-Seagram Ltd. The senior Bronfman built the company into the world's largest distilling firm. Charles Bronfman joined the company in 1951 and became director and vice-president in 1958. Through the 1960s, the Bronfman family expanded its interests into oil and coal and by 1965 it had operations in 119 countries and sales exceeding $1 billion. Charles Bronfman became the company's executive vice-president in 1971. In 1975, when the company's name was changed to the Seagram Company Ltd and the company's executive was restructured after a decline in earnings, Charles Bronfman became Seagram's president. Two years later the company was again recording significant net profits and continued to expand into other areas. Bronfman became co-chairman of the company in 1986, a position he held until 2000 when Seagram was sold to the French conglomerate Vivendi. The Bronfman family held substantial shares in the company. Bronfman was a member of the International Advisory Council of Power Corporation of Canada from the time it was created in 1988 until it was disbanded in 2005.

Charles Bronfman was the chairman and principal owner of the Montreal Expos baseball club from 1968 to 1990. It was the first Canadian team admitted to baseball's National League.

Charles Bronfman has made significant contributions to cultural, athletic and philanthropic organizations both in Canada at large and in the Jewish community in particular. As the chairman of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies Inc. (ACBP), Bronfman is responsible for a network of international charities operating in Canada, the US and Israel.

Among the many honours and awards bestowed on Charles Bronfman are the Order of Canada; he was appointed as an Officer of the Order in 1981 and promoted to Companion in 1992. He was nominated at the academy of Great Montrealers in 1982.

Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia