Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Illustration of John Bragg, president and chief executive officer of Oxford Frozen Foods Ltd. (ANTHONY JENKINS)
Illustration of John Bragg, president and chief executive officer of Oxford Frozen Foods Ltd. (ANTHONY JENKINS)

THE LUNCH

Blueberry and fibre optic tycoon John Bragg: The Oracle of Oxford, N.S. Add to ...

On being succeeded by his four children: I don’t think you need a dictator. Having the [proper] structure with a good board is fine. There will be some fine-tuning but basically if you have four shareholders who are educated and committed, they should be able to make good decisions.

On the national flaw: One of the things Canadian businesses have to do is think about the world all the time. It is a challenge for Canadians to adapt as the world gets smaller.

On technology: The real issue is not to bet the farm on the wrong technology. Don’t get way out in front. I don’t understand the technology but if we give great service, there will be a communications business. You really have to build a service model in the company.

On the wireless venture: We have to get into wireless and get our toes into the water. When we launched land-line telephone, we said we would do it on the basis of what we can afford to lose. But there is not the same risk now, because we have a lot more sophisticated help and people are running wireless around the world. When we did telephone, we were inventing the wheel.

On equity versus fame: If I were looking for profile, we would lever this [business] and go public and buy a bunch. Our real purpose is to build equity, not profile. Going public is cumbersome and there is a lot of overhead.

On the secret to good debt: If the revenue stream is fairly consistent, you can afford to lever [the business]. And we have a steady income from cable, although not the growth of the past.

On the joys of private business: The real challenge is to stay entrepreneurial and cut to the chase. We don’t let anything get in the way of making decisions.

CURRICULUM VITAE

Personal

Born May 3, 1940, in

Springhill, N.S.

He and wife Judy have four children: Lee, Matthew, Carolyn and Patricia, all of whom have worked or now work in the business.

His eight grandchildren

include the seventh generation of Braggs in Oxford area.

 

Background

Former chancellor of Mount Allison University.

Bachelor of commerce and bachelor of education, Mount Allison University

 

Spare time

Took up golf at age 65; now plays whenever he can.

Owns residences on golf courses in Fox Harb’r, N.S., and Hawaii.

An American history buff, he named his den “the Adams Room” after former U.S. president John Adams.

His official Mount Allison portrait shows him holding Adams’ bio by David McCullough.

 

Recent reads

Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man, by Walter Stahr.

Eisenhower in War and Peace by Jean Edward Smith.

 

On his bedside table

The Man who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace, by H.W. Brands.

Single page

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories