Prime Minister Stephen Harper has named Toronto business executive Nigel Wright as his next chief of staff, government sources tell CBC News.


Onex managing director Nigel Wright has been tapped to become Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief of staff. ((Courtesy of Onex))

Wright, the managing director of Onex Corp., is a Harvard University-trained Bay Street lawyer and banker who previously worked as a speechwriter and policy adviser to former prime minister Brian Mulroney.

A senior government official told CBC News national affairs editor Chris Hall that the prime minister recruited Wright for the position because the economy is the government's top priority. 

The official said Harper is "comfortable" with Wright, who supported the prime minister's leadership bid and has known him for a decade.

Wright is to replace outgoing chief of staff Guy Giorno, who is leaving the job at the end of the year. The senior official said Wright would take over late this year or early in the new year.

According to his biography on the Onex website, Wright also holds two degrees from the University of Toronto and was a partner at the Toronto law firm of Davies, Ward & Beck.

Wright had "great success in helping large corporations reorganize, create growth, save jobs and prosper," the government official said. "Those skills are directly relevant to the challenges Canada faces."

The Prime Minister's Office has not yet commented on the matter.

News of Wright's appointment comes after a tough summer for the Conservative government, which has faced mounting criticism over costs of Canada's dual hosting of the G8 and G20 summits in June, as well as its decision to scrap the mandatory long-form census and a Tory backbencher's failed attempt to scrap the federal long-gun registry.