Jack Cockwell, 68, is a Battle-Hardened Dealmaker
Cockwell established Edper Investments through an aggressive takeover strategy and diligent work ethic, creating a massive conglomerate comprising real estate, resource firms and financial companies. He now advises Brookfield Asset Management which manages more than $250 billion worth of properties, infrastructure assets and renewable power assets.
Philanthropically minded, he serves on the boards of both Royal Ontario Museum and Ryerson University.
Early Life and Education
Jack Cockwell has not left much behind when it comes to his early life and education. A South African trained accountant, he first arrived in Canada 43 years ago as the asset manager of two cousins of Bronfman cast-offs who formed Brascan Conglomerate into one of the world’s premier asset managers.
He is also a member of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame and one of Canada’s most acclaimed billionaires, serving as group chairman for Brookfield Asset Management Inc. where he manages an enormous $250 billion portfolio.
Toronto-based firm Brookfield Global Real Estate Investment Trust has become increasingly diversified over the years by purchasing office properties, hydroelectric power dams, base metal mines and many of the world’s premier financial institutions. Ryerson University honored him and his family on Wednesday by honoring Daphne Cockwell with a new nursing school named in her honour at its campus in Toronto.
Cockwell served as business strategist to help the Bronfmans build Edper into a massive holding company with significant stakes in office properties, hydroelectric power plants and base metal mines. After handing off control to Bruce Flatt in 2002, Brascan was transformed into Brookfield Asset Management — one of the world’s premier money managers.
Cockwell has recently transitioned from his longstanding position at Brascan to take a more prominent public role, supporting education for youths as well as environmental preservation through donations to Trails Youth Initiatives, Trans Canada Trail and Ryerson University’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education.
As recently as this past November, he made a substantial gift to George Brown College – its single largest one-time donation ever in its history. Additionally, he serves on both Royal Ontario Museum’s board of trustees and heritage governor panels.
Achievement and Honors
Cockwell remains an eye-catching figure at Brookfield Asset Management Inc. he co-founded almost half a century ago; today, he serves as group chairman.
Cockwell has long shown his dedication to Ryerson University by serving on its board of appointees as well as leading fundraising efforts for Ryerson’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education and campus master plan. Since joining their board in 2016, Cockwell has made significant strides forward for Ryerson. Notably he chaired the Royal Ontario Museum’s board of trustees while leading fundraising initiatives for their G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education and campus master plan respectively.
The Royal Ontario Museum honored Cockwell with the 2012 Chairs’ Reception’s Distinguished Service Award – its highest volunteer recognition – as well as naming a building on Church Street after him and Brookfield Partners Foundation as an acknowledgement of their immense generosity to the institution.
Cockwell is a veteran dealmaker who first came to Canada 43 years ago to oversee Edward and Peter Bronfman’s inheritance as cousins from a liquor dynasty. Over this time, he spearheaded acquisitions which created Brascan, an impressive $250-billion empire comprising forestry, mining, real estate and other sectors of the economy.
He’s made himself more visible, serving on public and community boards as a director, such as being appointed Heritage Governor at the Royal Ontario Museum and chairman of Ryerson University’s board of governors and Real Estate Advisory Committee. Additionally, he founded Brookfield Partners Foundation while serving on Astral Media, Waterfront Toronto and various Brookfield affiliated company boards.
Co-founding the Daphne Cockwell Centre for Health Sciences on Ryerson’s Waterfront Campus to honor his late mother is something he is especially proud of.
Cockwell holds multiple roles within Brookfield Asset Management and its affiliates as a director, including Astral Media and Waterfront Toronto boards of directors. Additionally, he volunteers in numerous community organizations including Heritage Governor for Royal Ontario Museum and Chair of Building Fundraising Committee of Ryerson Universitys G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education Building Fundraising Committee.
Jack Cockwells persona as an engaging accountant still resonates strongly among his colleagues at the company he co-founded fifty years ago, even after stepping away from daily responsibilities. How they handle his retirement will be key test for their governance structure. Cockwell is estimated to be worth an estimated $2.64 billion Canadian as of 2023 due to his ownership stake in Brookfield Asset Management which manages an estimated $250 billion of assets under management.