Joseph Rotman dies, leaving legacy in business and philanthropy

Canadian business mogul and philanthropist Joseph L. Rotman has died at age 80, CBC News has confirmed.

Decorated Torontonian was principal benefactor of University of Toronto's business school

Canadian business mogul and philanthropist Joseph L. Rotman has died at age 80, CBC News has confirmed.

Rotman was a noted businessman who began his career in trading oil in 1962, but his name is most often associated with the University of Toronto. The Toronto-born Rotman graduated from the university with a master's in commerce in 1960, and went on to become the principal benefactor of U of T's business school, which was renamed the Rotman School of Management in 1997.

Rotman collected many accolades and held many prestigious positions in the city and beyond.

He was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada in 1995 and elected to the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.

Joseph Rotman was a prominent businessman and philanthropist in Toronto, lending his name to the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. He celebrated his 80th birthday on Jan. 6 of this year. (Canada Council for the Arts)
​Rotman's business legacy includes the merchant bank and private equity management firm Clairvest Group Inc., which he founded in 1987. He sat on its board of directors until his death. 

Rotman was also the founder of several oil and gas companies, including Tarragon Oil and Gas Limited, and has also been involved in the establishment and growth of a number of successful public and private companies including Premdor, Barrick Gold Corporation and the Bank of Montreal.

Rotman was also involved in the arts, serving as:

  • A chair of the Canada Council of the Arts.
  • President of the Art Gallery of Ontario.
  • President of the AGO's board of trustees, as well as head of other board positions.

Toronto Mayor John Tory, whose father established a fellowship at the Rotman school, paid his respects by saying, "Mr. Rotman was a true city builder, demonstrating a commitment to developing Canadian institutions in the arts, education and health care.

"On behalf of the people of Toronto, I offer my sincere condolences to his family. He will truly be missed."

Rotman is survived by Sandra Frieberg, his wife since 1959, and their two grown children, Janis and Kenneth.