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Golden Pencil winners 2011

Reading through the names of past recipients of the Golden Pencil Award is like going through a who’s who of Canadian grocery industry history: Sam Steinberg, Anthony Longo, David Sobey and Wallace and Harrison McCain. This year will see two more remarkable men bestowed: Frank Coleman, of Colemans stores in Newfoundland; and Philip Donne, president of the Campbell Company of Canada. They were chosen from dozens of nominations from the industry and the executive committee of the Food Industry Association of Canada.

Philip Donne

In his long career, Philip Donne has made many worthy contributions to Canada’s food industry, pushing health and wellness up the agenda, leading the development of innovative new products and seeking to find new ways to feed Canada’s, and the world’s, hungry.

Donne was educated at the University of Toronto (BSc) and the Schulich School of Business at York University (MBA). After school he entered the world of food marketing at General Mills as marketing assistant. Donne also made early stops at Duracell and Coca-Cola Foods, which led him to Kellogg’s and then to the Campbell Company of Canada.

His 15-year career at Kellogg included roles within marketing in Canada, then onto Italy, Greece and Cyprus, and then France and Benelux in Paris, both roles as president and general manager, before returning to Canada to become Kellogg’s president here. Donne’s aspiration to make wellness programs more accessible led him and his team to develop Vector, a food supplement cereal that became the company’s best-selling new cereal product.

Moving to Campbell Canada as president and CEO (a position he still holds), Donne pushed forward an ambitious evolution, including renovation of the product portfolio to be more appealing from a health and wellness perspective. He drastically cut the amount of sodium in Campbell’s iconic soups.

More recently, Donne led the development of Nourish, a complete meal in a can, aimed at helping to feed the hungry both through food banks here at home and to provide sustenance for the starving in the developing world. Passionate about helping address the issue of hunger, Donne has worked closely with Food Banks Canada and the World Food Program.

Donne’s accomplishments go beyond his own company. He has served as chair for Kids Help Phone, FCPC, Advertising Standards Canada, the Association of Canadian Advertisers and the Early Years Task Force for the Ontario Government. And he has served on the boards of Daily Bread Food Bank, Ontario’s Promise, National Life, the Grocery Foundation, Canadian Obesity Network and the Mayor of Toronto’s Economic Advisory Task Force.

Frank Coleman

Frank Coleman learned all the fundamentals of the grocery business from his father, having worked as a teenager in every department of Colemans stores in Newfoundland. He also learned about hard work, tenacity, vision and the inherent value of people. Today, he’s president of Colemans, which operates 12 grocery stores in the province.

The grandson of the company’s founders, Coleman grew up in the business. But he didn’t start his career there. After graduating from St. Francis Xavier University with a bachelor of arts, Coleman worked as chief economist for Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. He earned a master’s in economics from Dalhousie University and later opened his own consulting business, Atlantic Consulting Economists.

Since returning to Colemans as president in 1986, he has continued to build the company, ensuring that Colemans is totally involved in the activities of the communities in which its stores are located. Today, Colemans is famous for its support of children’s eat-well programs and many other charities.

In addition, his belief in using state-of-the-art technology has given Colemans stores the agility to respond to the vagaries of the marketplace. The company’s continuing success is rooted in Coleman’s commitment to his staff and customers. Coleman is also influential in the grocery industry, having served on a number of boards, including United Grocers Inc., the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors and the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers. In 2010, he was named Top CEO in Atlantic Canada by Atlantic Business magazine.

Coleman’s business interests are diverse. He’s director and chair of the board of Rocky Mountain Liquor Corporation and a director of the North West Company. His community commitment was acknowledged with his appointment as an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, 2nd Battalion.

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