J. Robert S. Prichard, OC, OOnt
Robert Prichard is the non-executive chairman of Torys LLP. As chairman, Rob provides advice to clients, contributes to the leadership of the firm and represents Torys in the communities we serve. Rob advises clients on corporate transactions, corporate governance, public policy and government relations, public-private partnerships and higher education. He also serves as a facilitator in multi-stakeholder disputes and negotiations.
Before joining Torys in 2010, Rob had careers as a law professor, academic leader and business leader.
He was a professor of law at the University of Toronto from 1976 to 2001, specializing in law and economics. He taught torts, labour law, product liability, and economic regulation and economic analysis of law. He also taught at the law schools of Yale (1982–83) and Harvard (1983–84 and 2000–01). He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2008 and received the University of Toronto’s 2009 Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Rob served as dean of the University of Toronto Law School from 1984 to 1990 and then as president of the University of Toronto from 1990 to 2000. He also served as chair of the Council of Ontario Universities, on the boards of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and the International Association of Universities and on the executive committee of the Association of American Universities. In 2001, Rob received the David Smith Award for his contribution to public policies in higher education and in 2011 received the Champion of Public Education Award.
Rob’s business sector experience includes serving, from 2002 to 2009, as president and CEO of Torstar Corporation, a leading Canadian media company with newspaper and book publishing businesses. He serves as a director of the Bank of Montreal, Onex Corporation and George Weston Ltd. He is also chairman of Penguin Canada. Rob has previously served as a director of numerous public companies, including Four Seasons Hotels, Brascan (now Brookfield Asset Management), Imasco, Charles River Associates, Tesma International, St. Lawrence Cement, 724 Solutions, Gildan Activewear, Biochem Pharma and Visible Genetics.
In the public sector, Rob is chairman of Metrolinx, the regional transportation agency of the greater Toronto and Hamilton areas, where he served as president and CEO from 2009 to 2010. He is also vice-chair of Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council.
In the volunteer sector, Rob serves as a trustee of the Hospital for Sick Children, a director of the Toronto Community Foundation, chair of the Visiting Committee for Harvard Law School and a trustee of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award Foundation. Previously, he was a trustee of the University Health Network, a director of the Royal Ontario Museum, a governor of Upper Canada College, a commissioner of the Ontario Law Reform Commission and a member of the Greater Toronto Task Force (Golden Task Force).
Rob has been recognized by appointment as an officer of the Order of Canada, and a member of the Order of Ontario. He has also received honorary degrees from 10 colleges and universities in Canada and the United States.