Kenneth Thomson, 2nd Baron Thomson of Fleet

From Academic Kids

Kenneth Roy Thomson, born September 1, 1923 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is the 2nd Baron Thomson of Fleet and a businessman and art collector.

He is the son of Roy Herbert Thomson, 1st Baron Thomson of Fleet (1894-1976), the founder of Thomson Corporation that is today a multi-faceted holding company with operations in 46 countries employing 39,000 people.

Kenneth Thomson was educated at Upper Canada College in Toronto and Cambridge University in the UK. During World War II, he served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Following the war, he completed his education and entered the family business. In 1956, he married Nora Marilyn Lavis, with whom he had three children: David, Peter and Lesley.

On his father’s passing, Kenneth Thomson assumed the hereditary title, Baron Thomson of Fleet, and succeeded his father as chair of what was then a media empire made up of extensive newspaper and television holdings. The Thomas media empire added the prestigious Globe and Mail in Toronto to The Times and Sunday Times in Britain and The Jerusalem Post in Israel. Under Kenneth Thomson, who owns a 73-per-cent stake in the company, Thomson Corporation sold its North Sea oil holdings and sold The Times to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and the Jerusalem Post to Conrad Black's Hollinger Inc. The Globe and Mail was combined with BCE's cable and television assets (including CTV and The Sports Network) to form Bell Globemedia, controlled by BCE with Thomson as a minority shareholder. The company then sold all of its community newspapers to become a financial data services giant and one of the world's most powerful information services and academic publishing companies. Today, the company operates primarily in the United States from its headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. In 2002, The Thomson Corporation was listed on the New York Stock Exchange as "TOC."

According to Forbes Magazine, the Kenneth Thomson family is the richest in Canada, and the man himself is the 15th richest person in the world. Over the past fifty years, Kenneth Thomson has distinguished himself as one of North America's leading art collectors and has been a major benefactor to the Art Gallery of Ontario. In order to ensure that at least some of the work of important Canadian artists remained in his native country, in 2002 he paid the highest price ever for a painting by a Canadian artist when he purchased Paul Kane's "Scene from the Northwest." At a Sotheby's auction that year, Kenneth Thomson purchased Peter Paul Rubens' painting "The Massacre of the Innocents" for 49.5million (US$76.2 million).

In 2002, Kenneth Thomson stepped down as Chair of Thomson Corporation and was replaced by his son, David K.R. Thomson. Following his retirement from active business, he donated to the Art Gallery of Ontario nearly 2,000 art works representing the finest private art collection in Canada. His gift contained masterpieces by renowned Canadian artists plus those from his collection of European works of art dating from the Middle Ages to the mid-nineteenth century.

Preceded by:
Roy Herbert Thomson
Baron Thomson of Fleet Followed by:
Current Incumbent
de:Kenneth Thomson
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