Distinguished retailer with a generous spirit
Stephen Wetmore (’76)
As the leader of iconic Canadian firms such as Canadian Tire and Bell Aliant, Stephen Wetmore (’76) has been one of Canada’s outstanding CEOs. In 2013, the Retail Council of Canada named him the 2013 Distinguished Retailer of the Year.
In 2016, he received an honorary doctorate from Acadia, and in 2019, the native of Campbellton, New Brunswick, received an honorary doctorate from the University of New Brunswick.
Wetmore’s career has been impressive. In March 2020, he retired as President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Tire Corporation, having been reappointed in 2016 after serving as CEO from 2009 to 2014. Before joining Canadian Tire, he helped to create Bell Aliant as its President and CEO. Earlier, as Bell Canada’s Vice Chairman, Corporate, and Group President, National Markets, he oversaw operations across the country.Stephen Wetmore is President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC), Limited. He previously served as CEO of the Company from 2009 – 2014 and was reappointed to the role in July 2016. Throughout his tenure at CTC, Stephen developed and navigated the business strategy, instilled a culture of accountability and invested in initiatives and partnerships that drive the Company’s long-term growth and success.
Generous with his time and other support, he has served on the boards of educational and charitable organizations across Canada. Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart Charity has given 1.5 million children from families in financial need the chance to participate in sport and physical activity. The company also sponsors Olympic athletes as well as numerous local events. In 2013, the Globe and Mail named Wetmore as one of the 50 most powerful people in Canadian sport.
Despite his busy schedule, Wetmore has maintained strong ties to Acadia. In February 2013, he was guest speaker at the Toronto Acadia Alumni Business Breakfast at the Toronto Board of Trade. In 2015, he and his wife, Jann (’73), were major donors to Patterson Hall, the new home of Acadia’s F.C. Manning School of Business. Since 2018, he has continued to contribute to Acadia as a member of the Campaign Cabinet.
“Your schools always have a huge impact on you, and Acadia certainly did. You don’t realize it until you sit down and think about it. I’m glad I went to Acadia.”
Yet attending Acadia was almost accidental. Although Wetmore grew up in New Brunswick, the school he attended used a Nova Scotia curriculum and encouraged its students to attend university in Nova Scotia. After he applied to a few universities including Acadia, there happened to be a national mail strike. He and a roommate decided to drive to the universities to which they’d applied and see if they’d been accepted. Acadia was their first stop. When they learned they’d been accepted, they decided then and there to come to Acadia and save themselves a drive all over Nova Scotia.
While Wetmore initially found the freedom of university life challenging, he soon settled in. “What Acadia did for me was, while I was going through those years when I had to grow up a bit, I was growing up at Acadia in Wolfville,” he says. “Acadia is a nice size. It allows you to make friends. When I look back on it now, it was an extension of an Atlantic Canadian upbringing. The values were there, with excellent teachers to guide you.”