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Canada Goose CEO Dani Reiss (Rachel Idzerda for The Globe and Mail)
Canada Goose CEO Dani Reiss (Rachel Idzerda for The Globe and Mail)

THE LUNCH

Casual-chic workaholic strives for authenticity at helm of Canada Goose Add to ...

On the personal front, he doesn’t believe in work-life balance. He works essentially 24/7 and travels for business about 40 per cent of the time. His wife is supportive, he says.

“I think I have the perfect balance because I love what I do,” he says. “I don’t look to see how many hours a week I’m working. Nor do I think that work and life are very separate.” During a later conversation, he adds: “I sleep with my Blackberry next to my bed. I check it in the middle of the night.”

When he travels for business, “it’s like recharging my mind.” His 37-year-old wife, who used to work for her family's manufacturing business, takes care of their children, 6 and 3. He winds down by watching sports, especially tennis and basketball, and shooting hoops with his son in the driveway.

One of his proudest business moments was opening his new head office in the fall of 2012 in a former Hilroy paper factory. It has a gym, where he works out at 6:30 a.m., and a feel he describes as boutique hotel combined with Arctic base camp with stone, rock and steel finishes. Having to leave it because of the burst pipe “sucked,” he says, but in typical style, he sees the silver lining. His youngish staff appreciated the wider selection of eateries near their temporary offices.

Even so, the relocation “wouldn’t have been fun if we didn’t succeed,” he adds.

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CURRICULUM VITAE:

 

DATE OF BIRTH:

Nov. 7, 1973.

FAMILY:

Married to Erica for seven years; two children, 6 and 3

EDUCATION:

Bachelor of Arts in English from University of Toronto

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:

Ran small firm with two friends during university tallying statistics for sports pools and other organizations.

Joined family firm, Metro Sportswear Ltd., in 1997 after working summers there; his grandfather Sam Tick founded the business in 1957.

Became CEO in 2001, when the company’s annual revenues were about $3-million; in 2014, he expects them to rise to more than $200-million.

In December, 2013, Bain Capital bought a majority stake in Canada Goose for an estimated $250-million to help it expand globally.

OTHER ACTIVITIES:

Chairman of Polar Bears International; board member at Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation; member of Economic Advisory Council to Finance Minister Joe Oliver; sits on advisory board of Queen’s School of Business Centre for Responsible Leadership; member of Young Presidents’ Organization; named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2008.

IN HIS OWN WORDS:

“My life is my work; my work is my life.”

On going into the family parka business: “Everyone told me, whatever you do, don’t do this. My parents both told me that.”

His view on brands as a teenager: “I actually had a pretty strong point of view against brands. I believed it was advertising – why would I advertise for somebody else?”

On his father’s influence: “My dad is very Type A, as am I, very impatient. My father taught me how to get to the bottom line. Even when I would talk to him as a kid, he would say: ‘What’s the point?’ ... It’s a useful skill for running a good meeting and coming out with answers at the end.”

On building a high-profile global brand without having gone to business school: “ If I went to business school and did what they taught me in business school, it would not have worked. I’ve got a business school education from what I’ve done. It was the fact that I came out of a different background that made this successful ... This is not textbook.”

On Lululemon, which now makes its yoga wear overseas: “There was a time when all their stuff was made in Canada. They, like many others, chose that the point of manufacturing of their product was not significant to their brand. I can’t say they’re right or wrong. For us, we would never make that decision ...”

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