Why leave now?When Seymour and I sold Franco-Nevada, my thought was to retire. But the Newmont board wanted one of us to set up their Newmont Capital division and nurture it, even for a year. I had so much fun, I stayed for five years. But I got to the point where I was travelling 60% of the time.
So what's next?I want to spend more time with my family and have more time to myself. My first wife passed away in 2000, and I remarried. I have a very young daughter, 21 months, as well as a daughter, 35, and a son, 32, plus three grandchildren. I want to return to merchant banking with Seymour. I also want to spend more time on philanthropy.
Schulich has given away more than $150 million.
Do you have a similar plan?
My plan was to give away a minimum of 10% of my net worth, and I've already sort of done that. So now the question is: Will it be another 10%?
You're chairman of the Quebec National Art Museum in Quebec City. What might you give to the museum?
I've got a pretty good art collection. I collect Canadian impressionists from 1890 to 1920 or so, and I collect Riopelles from the 1950s. My houses are all full, chockablock everywhere.
What kind of business projects will you take on?
My entire background is in natural resources and especially mining. I'll be looking at diamonds and gold and whatever else is out there.
Do you want to devote more time to strategy?
This job is like a Chinese fire drill every day. I am most creative when I have free time to think. When I look back on Franco-Nevada, the greatest luxury was being able to sit around a table for two hours and just kick around ideas.
What makes you and Schulich a good team?
I'd call it the yin and the yang. He is more anal-retentive and I provide more of the vision. He's more the detail guy, and I'm, "Well, this is what it could be."
If I had an idea, I would say, "Seymour, here's black," and he would say, "No, it's white." Then we would analyze the pluses and minuses. We had a very simple rule: We both had to agree on what we ended up doing. Once we got to a conclusion, we could do a deal in 24 hours.
What was your darkest time at Newmont?
The New York Times series on our Indonesian trial [Newmont faces criminal charges for allegedly polluting waters around its gold mine near Buyat village] We had six people in jail for over a month, and under house arrest for many more months. We've been on trial for over a year and still have the sword of Damocles hanging over one senior executive. He could go to jail. This was just awful.
Can you win?
If it's a fair trial, and the judges are left to make their own decision, we will win hands-down. The evidence is so overwhelmingly in our favour.
Where do you think the price of gold will go?
Gold one day will have three zeros after the first number--I just don't know what the first number will be. We're five years into a bull market that will last 12 or 15 years. So within the next seven to 10 years, you will definitely see gold well above $1,000 (U.S.). --