Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: #4, George Cope
Our annual ranking of the people whose smarts, connections and clout are changing the city as we know it
BCE and Bell Canada
4 The head of Canada’s largest telecommunications company—57,200 employees, $21 billion in revenue—made Bell even bigger in 2015. In the first half of the year, Cope added more than 250,000 new Fibe TV, Internet and smartphone customers, and signed up 700,000 subscribers to CraveTV, a Netflix competitor that features HBO’s entire off-air library. He also kick-started Gigabit Fibe, a $1-billion project that will employ 2,400 and make Toronto home to North America’s fastest Internet service. As CEO, he swiftly ousted president Kevin Crull when Crull meddled with CTV’s news coverage, replaced him with Bell veteran Mary Ann Turcke, then poached music-industry magnate Randy Lennox from Universal. And, as Bell’s rep at MLSE—where he co-presides over the fate of the Leafs, Raptors and TFC—he bought the Toronto Argonauts with Larry Tanenbaum.
Bell’s Let’s Talk campaign raised $6.1 million for mental health initiatives. In September, Cope announced Bell would commit another $100 million to the project over the next five years.