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Memorable Manitobans: Frederick Ross Johnson (1931-2016)

Businessman.

Born at Winnipeg on 13 December 1931, only child of Irish immigrants, he received a BComm degree from the University of Manitoba (1952) and an MBA from the University of Toronto (1956). He worked at Canadian General Electric then became Vice-President for merchandising at the T. Eaton Company. He was then President and CEO of GWS Inc. In 1971, he joined the Canadian subsidiary of Standard Brands Inc., rising to CEO of the parent company in 1976. He initiated a merger with Nabisco Inc. in 1981, becoming CEO of Nabisco Brands Inc. in 1984. The following year, it merged with tobacco company R. J. Reynolds Industries to create RJR Nabisco. His unsuccessful efforts in the late 1980s to take the company private were described in the 1991 book Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco. It was later made into a movie in which he was portrayed by actor James Garner. In 1986, he was inducted into the Order of Canada. He died at his home in Jupiter, Florida on 29 December 2016.

Sources:

Former RJR Nabisco CEO F. Ross Johnson dies at age 85,” The Wall Street Journal, 31 December 2016.

We thank James Arnett for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 1 January 2017

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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