David Chilton, publishing powerhouse and personal finance guru, has announced he's leaving CBC’s popular reality TV series Dragons’ Den after three seasons on the show.
The 53-year-old bestselling author of The Wealthy Barber said he needs more time to focus on the many deals he made.
"Leaving was truly the toughest business decision I've ever made," Chilton said in a statement.
"However, with 22 closed deals and all the due-diligence work, I was having trouble finding time for some new opportunities I want to pursue.”
Chilton also expressed a desire to spend more time at home, but he didn’t close the door on coming back.
"The last three years have been incredibly exciting and fulfilling. I have a feeling one of my new projects will lead me back to the CBC."
Big shoes to fill
Producers are currently looking for a new businessperson to replace Chilton who joined the den in season 7 as a replacement for original dragon Robert Herjavec.
"We were thrilled when David agreed to join CBC Dragons’ Den," said executive producer Tracie Tighe.
"We’d heard tales of his legendary memory and marvelled at the breadth of his business knowledge. But we were really blown away by his sense of humour and loved that he showed such respect and empathy for every entrepreneur who came into the Den to present their business."
The award-winning CBC show centres on Canadian entrepreneurs pitching business proposals and ideas to a panel of celebrity venture capitalists, who must then decide whether or not to invest in the projects.
Any prospective replacement for Chilton would also have to hold their own against long-time dragons Jim Treliving and Arlene Dickinson.
A number of investors 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 (season 1 – 8)
- Bruce Croxon, internet mogul (season 6 – 8)
- W. Brett Wilson, investment banker (season 3 – 5)
- Robert Herjavec, IT entrepreneur, (season 1 – 6)
- Jennifer Wood, beef industry executive (season 1)
- Laurence Lewin, La Senza co-founder (season 1 – 2)
Got a pitch for the dragons?
The cross-country search for aspiring Canadian entrepreneurs kicks off this weekend, starting Saturday at the CBC in Toronto. 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.
Dragons’ Den is currently in its ninth season on CBC-TV.
Catch it Wednesdays at 8 p.m. or watch full episodes online here.