Don Wheaton to receive 2020 Canadian Business Leader Award

    President and CEO of Wheaton Group will be recognized for his innovative vision and entrepreneurial leadership.

    November 5, 2019

    Don Wheaton

    Donald A. Wheaton is President and CEO of the Wheaton Group of Companies and the recipient of the 2020 Canadian Business Leader Award.

    EDMONTON — Donald A. Wheaton will be honoured with the 39th annual Canadian Business Leader Award, presented by the University of Alberta School of Business in Edmonton on March 19, 2020.

    Since becoming the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Wheaton Group of Companies in 1995, Wheaton has grown the family business with a strong set of values, innovative thinking, and entrepreneurial leadership. Best known as the name behind one of the largest automotive retailers in Canada with dealerships from Victoria to Regina, today, the Wheaton family business interests have diversified across Canada into real estate, insurance, aviation and banking. The Wheaton Group of Companies is a second generation, privately-held family business currently transitioning to the next generation with 10 of the third generation now working for the Company.

    In 1988, the Wheaton family entered the insurance business with First Canadian Financial Group—now the largest underwriter of automotive creditor and warranty insurance in Canada. The family is also co- owner of Morningstar Air Express, which is the carrier for Federal Express in Canada, operating daily flights between all major cities from Victoria to Halifax. In 2005, Wheaton established the General Bank of Canada, which remains the first and only family-held private bank in the country. In 2012, Wheaton and partners launched Aurora Jet Partners which provides fractional jet aircraft ownership to individuals and companies.

    “I am honoured to receive the Canadian Business Leader Award from the Alberta School of Business. Beginning with my father’s dealership on Whyte Avenue, the Wheaton Group of Companies has been a part of the Edmonton community for 56 years. I am proud of our accomplishments as a family-owned and family-first business, and I look forward to sharing our story with students, many of whom will someday start family businesses of their own.”

    A champion of community involvement, Wheaton has served on many community boards over the years and currently serves on the board of the Edmonton Flying Club, the Fraser Institute, the University of Alberta Hospital Foundation, and the University of Alberta Advancement Council.

    Wheaton has previously been recognized for his community engagement and achievements as an innovative business leader; he was inducted into the Junior Achievement Alberta Business Hall of Fame in 2018 and was also awarded the EY Family Business Award of Excellence in 2016. An alumnus of the University of Alberta School of Business, Wheaton graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1975.

    “We’re thrilled to celebrate Don's achievements as our next CBLA recipient,” said Joseph Doucet, dean of the Alberta School of Business. “As a second-generation CEO, he is one of Alberta’s most iconic figures of family business, entrepreneurship and innovative leadership. He is a model of excellence to our students—the future leaders—at the Alberta School of Business."

    About the Canadian Business Leader Award (CBLA)

    Each year since 1982, the Alberta School of Business and its Business Advisory Council have presented the Canadian Business Leader Award to a Canadian of distinction. CBLA recipients are individuals who have demonstrated leadership, business acumen and success, an entrepreneurial spirit, integrity and a commitment to the community. The selection committee is comprised of members of the BAC, as well as students, faculty and alumni.

    The award will be presented to Mr. Wheaton at the annual CBLA dinner—the School’s signature event attended by over 800 members of the Alberta business community on March 19, 2020 in Edmonton. Over 100 students are able to attend the dinner thanks to sponsoring individuals and companies.

    If you would like to attend the event, watch for registration on the Alberta School of Business website and on social media at @ualbertabiz.