Arlene Dickinson, Canadian venture capitalist and longtime Dragons’ Den personality, announced Friday that she’s leaving the award-winning CBC show.
The communications and marketing maven said "it’s time" to give up her chair after eight "incredible" seasons on the program that pits burgeoning entrepreneurs against established investors, like Dickinson.
In that time, Dickinson, 58, says she’s listened to thousands of pitches and has built a portfolio of successful investments, but the time is right to leave the den.
"I know all about dreams," Dickinson said in a statement. "The opportunity to be a dragon has made some of mine come true. But I still have some big dreams, ones I want and need to chase."
Dickinson said she would reveal more about her future plans "very soon."
'A significant impact'
Dickinson, a self-made-millionaire and business leader, joined Dragons’ Den in its second season to replace the departing Jennifer Wood, the only other female dragon the show has ever had.
"Arlene has made a significant impact on the success of Dragons’ Den,” said CBC executive Jennifer Dettman.
"It’s a tremendous time commitment to be a dragon, and we feel lucky to have had Arlene for as long as we did. We wish her all the best."
Dickinson’s departure comes as show producers work to replace David Chilton, who announced just last week that it was time for him to move on too.
The Wealthy Barber finance guru said he needed more time to focus on the 22 deals he closed, and to spend more time with family.
Any potential candidates would have to hold their own against Boston Pizza restaurant magnate Jim Treliving, who is the last-remaining original dragon.
Relative newcomers, Vikram Vij and Michael Wekerle, continue to round out the den in the current season 9.
Dickinson and Chilton join the growing list of investors who have come and gone since the show, hosted by CBC broadcaster Dianne Buckner, kicked off in 2006, including:
- Kevin O'Leary, entrepreneur and TV host (seasons 1 – 8)
- Bruce Croxon, internet mogul (seasons 6 – 8)
- W. Brett Wilson, investment banker (seasons 3 – 5)
- Robert Herjavec, IT entrepreneur, (seasons 1 – 6)
- Jennifer Wood, beef industry executive (season 1)
- Laurence Lewin, La Senza co-founder (seasons 1 – 2)
Got a pitch for the dragons?
Despite the changes, auditions are still being held for would-be business moguls across the country until March 28.
Producers are looking for people of all ages, with businesses at any stage of development, to appear on the show's landmark 10th season.
Aspiring entrepreneurs must come prepared to pitch their product or idea in five minutes or less. And if they have what it takes, they could be invited to face the dragons in the den.
Catch Dragons’ Den Wednesdays at 8 p.m. or watch full episodes online here.