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Latest revision as of 02:54, 24 April 2023
Indian-Canadian businessman (born 1950)
Prem Watsa Indian-Canadian billionaire businessman who is the founder, chairman, and chief executive of Fairfax Financial Holdings, based in Toronto. He has been called the “Canadian Warren Buffett.” He was awarded the fourth highest civilian award of India, Padma Shri, in January 2020.(born 5 August 1950) is an
Early life and education
Watsa was born in Hyderabad, India in a Christian family converted from Hinduism a few generations back. He attended Hyderabad Public School and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras where he graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. He later moved to London, Ontario, and went to the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, where he earned an MBA. Watsa left India with US$8, sold furnaces and air conditioners to financially support his university education. He is a distinguished alumnus of IIT Madras.
After graduating, Watsa worked for the insurance company Confederation Life. In 1984, he started an investment firm with his former boss Tony Hamblin, called Hamblin Watsa Investment Counsel. In 1985, Watsa took over Markel Financial, a small Canadian trucking insurance company that was verging on bankruptcy, and renamed it Fairfax Financial Holdings. He helped grow the company, where it reached annual revenues of $8 billion a year in 2012. Despite his success, he largely stayed out of the public eye, only beginning to hold investor conference calls in 2001.
On 22 January 2012, it was reported he was to be appointed to the board of directors of Research In Motion (RIM) in the company’s largest ever corporate shakeup. Watsa resigned in August 2013, but kept his investment in the company. On 23 September 2013, BlackBerry announced that it had signed a letter of intent to be acquired by Fairfax Financial Holdings in a $4.7…
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