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Alternative asset manager Onex Corp. is reworking its management team by promoting veteran executive Robert Le Blanc to the newly created role of company president.

Mr. Le Blanc, aged 52, becomes second-in-command to Onex founder and chief executive Gerry Schwartz, aged 78. Mr. Le Blanc will oversee all of Onex’s business units and be sole head of its flagship private equity group. Prior to this move, Onex split day-to-day responsibility for the company’s operations between Mr. Schwartz, Mr. Le Blanc and three other senior managing directors.

Toronto-based Onex said the move is part of the company’s longer-term leadership planning and is meant to position the firm for future growth. Part of Mr. Le Blanc’s job will be allocating capital and talent between existing and new investment platforms. In a news release, Mr. Schwartz said: “Having joined the firm more than 20 years ago, Bobby represents the best of Onex. I am confident he will continue to be a positive force in our future success.”

Mr. Le Blanc is based in New York and joined Onex in 1999 from Berkshire Hathaway Inc. He also once worked at General Electric Co. Last year, he took home the smallest paycheque among the five senior executives who disclose their compensation in Onex regulatory filings. Mr. Le Blanc earned a total of US$6.3-million – US$400,000 in salary and the rest in share-based compensation. The four other senior executives – two other senior managing directors, the company’s chief financial officer and Mr. Schwartz, the CEO – were paid between US$8.1-million and Mr. Schwartz’s US$11-million.

As part of the new management structure, senior managing director Anthony Munk will become vice-chairman and continue to head the investment committee at Onex Partners, the company’s flagship private equity platform. Senior managing director Seth Mersky, who joined in 1997, will step back from his broader role at the company and become vice-chairman of Gluskin Sheff, the wealth management firm owned by Onex.

Founded in 1984 as a private equity firm with US$50-million in capital, Onex has broadened its reach into managing money for high-net-worth individuals by acquiring Gluskin Sheff in 2019, and overseeing a portfolio of credit investments that has doubled in size over the past five years to US$12-billion. In total, Onex oversees US$35-billion on behalf of clients, a portfolio that includes WestJet Airlines Ltd.

Earlier this month, Onex reported a US$689-million profit in the second quarter, bouncing back from a US$1.1-billion loss in the first three months of the year, when it wrote down the value of several investments. In the release announcing the second quarter results, Mr. Schwartz said: “As expected, valuations for the quarter rebounded significantly. As important is the significant progress made within our operating companies to ensure they manage any challenges ahead and prosper as economies gradually improve.”

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