Year Born: 1953
Cassaday, John (1953- )
When Murray Chercover stepped down as President of CTV in March 1989, after 21 years in the job, the hunt for his replacement eventually took the search committee outside the broadcasting business, and to the packaged goods world of the Campbell Soup Company. Their target was Campbell’s UK President and CEO John Cassaday, who joined CTV as its President and CEO in March of 1990 at the age of 37.
Born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1953, John obtained his B.A. at the University of Western Ontario in 1976. By that time, he had already spent some time in various sales promotion jobs at RJR MacDonald Inc., where by 1997 he had risen to become Marketing Manager.
In July of that year, he began what was to be a seven-year stay at General Foods, where he began as Product Manager and by 1984 had become International Category Director, Beverages, in the company’s International Headquarters in New York. In 1981, he obtained his MBA at the University of Toronto, through part-time studies.
In September 1984 he returned to Canada to become Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, for Campbell’s in Toronto, and by July 1998 he was that company’s President. In June of 1989 he was promoted to the Presidency of Campbell Foods, UK, as well as being a Vice-President and officer of Campbell Soup Company, from which he was wooed in March 1990 to spearhead the CTV network’s fight to ensure solvency and achieve profitability in an increasingly competitive broadcasting world. Over the next eight years, his efforts were instrumental in achieving a significant growth in the Network’s ratings, and did much to stabilize the ownership structure, which had hitherto been somewhat turbulent.
In June 1997, by which time Baton Broadcasting, owners of CTV affiliate Toronto CFTO-TV, had acquired enough CTV affiliates to control a majority of the Network’s shares, and were applying to the CRTC for formal ownership of the Network, John Cassaday resigned the Presidency of CTV. In August, he became President and CEO of Shaw Communications’ new broadcasting division, Shaw Media, which later became Corus Entertainment.
John’s achievements in business and broadcasting earned him the U of T Joseph L. Rotman School of Management Distinguished Business Alumni Award in 1998, and the CAB’s Gold Ribbon Award for Broadcast Excellence in 2004. His exceptional contributions to the work of many charitable organizations earned him the Paul Mulvihill Heart Award in 1995, and the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews’ Human Relations Award , and the Association of Canadian Advertisers’ Gold Medal in 2004. In 2006 he was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Legends. Charities with which he has been associated have included the United Way, the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation, St. Michael’s Hospital and the Dellcrest Children’s Centre.
John sits on the Board of Directors of Manulife Financial, Sysco Corporation and Irving Oil Limited. He is a member and Director of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Masonite International Corporation, J. M. Schneider Corporation, Canadian Airlines and Loblaw Companies Limited and on the Advisory Boards of Nestle Canada and IBM Canada. John was the Chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Rotman School of Management and Chair of the Board of St. Michaels Hospital from 2004 to 2006.
On December 30th 2012, it was announced that John Cassaday had been named as a Member of the Order of Canada, “…in recognition of his role as a dedicated and committed volunteer, and for his achievements in the business community”.
On October 30th 2014, Canada Music Week announced that John Cassaday would be the 2015 inductee to the Canadian Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame . He was so honoured at the Awards Gala on May 7th 2015.
On Monday January 12th 2015 John Cassaday announced that he would be retiring from Corus on the expiry of his contract at the end of March 2015. He retired from the firm on March 31st and was succeeded by his Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Doug Murphy.
Updated November 2014
Written by Pip Wedge – April, 2015