Wynne Powell, FCGA, Receives the R.W. Caulfield Award for Leadership
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Wynne Powell, FCGA (right) accepts the R.W. (Bill) Caulfield Award for Leadership from CGA-BC Chair
Bruce Hurst, FCGA, at the Conference 2011 awards banquet
London Drugs President and CEO Wynne Powell is the 2011 recipient of the R.W. Caulfield Award for Leadership.
The award honours those who exhibit leadership, innovation and integrity, and pays tribute to Bill Caulfield, CGA-BC’s Executive Director from 1983-2010. Those nominated must demonstrate visionary business leadership, devotion to public service and a strong record of community activities.
Powell began his business career 40 years ago as owner of a chain of camera stores. He joined London Drugs in 1982, was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 1995 and became President in 1998. Under his leadership a B.C.-based chain that employs more than 7,500 people has forged a reputation for its creative approach to retailing. He is also President of London Air Services Limited, TLD Computers Inc. and Sonora Resort.
He devised and founded London Air Services in 1999 as an efficient alternative to standard air travel for business executives. Under his leadership, London Air Services has grown to provide 24-hour, seven-days a week travel service to cities across North America, as well as to Europe and Asia.
In 1983, Powell again demonstrated his foresight in creating a new retail category. He was convinced that the same people who bought cameras and toasters from London Drugs would one day want to buy computers. At the time, the concept was considered far-fetched, but Powell was convinced the age of personal computers was imminent.
Powell travelled to Silicon Valley to convince computer manufacturers to let London Drugs carry their merchandise. The industry was not receptive. Computers, he was told, were sold by specialty computer consultants, not drugstores. He was shut out by the big manufacturers, but he managed to procure a few obscure brands, and when he returned to Canada the London Drugs computer department opened in four stores.
Over the years, Powell persisted and London Drugs eventually convinced Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard to sell directly to the retailer. His vision and determination changed how computers were sold.
In addition to his business acumen, the awards committee lauded Powell’s contributions to his community as exemplary.
He serves as Board Chair of the BC Provincial Health Service Authority and is the Chair of Chairs for all of the Health Authorities in British Columbia. For many years, he has also devoted himself to BCIT Connect, the annual CGA-BC recruiting event that provides networking and career opportunities to business students at BCIT. His long affiliation with BCIT started with his graduating from the Business Administration program then serving as Chair of the board of BCIT for eight years, Chair of the BCIT Foundation, and now as a lifetime Governor for the BCIT Foundation.
In addition to his day job and the multitude of boards he sits on, Powell volunteered on the South Pender Island Fire Department for 18 years, until 2002. Nevertheless, in July of 2006 he still found himself on Sonora Island, battling a blaze for nine hours through the night.
His previous honours include:
- an Honorary Doctor of Technology from BCIT
- BCIT’s Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement
- the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
- a Fellowship from the Certified General Accountants Association
- recognition as one of the Top 100 CGAs in Canada.