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In new book, Couche-Tard CEO Brian Hannasch reflects on leading during the pandemic

Unprecedented: Canada's Top CEOs on Leadership During COVID-19 features first-person accounts from 29 leaders of companies in front-line sectors.
Unprecedented book cover Signal/McClelland & Stewart
Unprecedented is published by Signal/McClelland & Stewart

The newly published book Unprecedented: Canada’s Top CEOs on Leadership During COVID-19, features Couche-Tard CEO Brian Hannasch, along with 29 senior leaders from Canadian companies.

Compiled and edited by Steve Mayer, president of Greenhill Canada and vice chairman of Greenhill & Co, and Andrew Willis, business columnist for The Globe & MailUnprecedented is reflects on these extraordinary times. Michele Romanow, CEO of Clearco and a "Dragon" on CBC's Dragons' Den contributed the foreword.

Unprecedented pulls back the curtain, sharing a collection of exclusive first-person stories on leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as stories and experiences.

“The book is meant for anyone in Canada who wants to know how the brands they touch each day, the companies they rely on, kept moving forward through COVID. We hope those in business, now and in the future, learn something from these shared experiences. Going forward, we hope this book serves as a reminder of an unprecedented challenge to Canada. A crisis we overcame together, and one we emerged from stronger than ever,” Mayer and Willis write in the intro. 

The collection reflects companies on the front lines during the pandemic—long term care homes, convenience and gas, grocery stores and retailers, airlines and hotels, restaurants, pharmacies, shopping malls—along with lessons on crisis management.

Hannasch's section offers a behind-the-scenes look into Couche-Tard's One Team approach during the first 18 months the pandemic. It's presented in a personal diary-like form, also including messages shared with the organization and letters to stakeholders during the most intense days early days of the pandemic.

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Brian Hannasch in a store on site with team mates

The convenience leader writes of his deep gratitude to people across the company for keeping team members and customers safe, as well as the commitment to the business and communities: "I am also reflecting on what I learned as a CEO during COVID. To be humble, what I learned was actually nothing new to me – trust your team and say thank you. I learned once again that this simple formula works.  It did for us during COVID, and we are now a better, stronger company."

The 29 companies and leaders involved in this project include: 

  • Air Canada, Calin Rovinescu
  • A&W Food Services, Susan Senecal
  • Bank of Nova Scotia, Brian Porter
  • BlackNorth Initiative, Wes Hall
  • Brookfield Asset Management, Bruce Flatt
  • Cadillac Fairview, John Sullivan
  • Canada Goose, Dani Reiss
  • Canadian Tire Corporation, Greg Hicks
  • Couche-Tard, Brian Hannasch
  • Finning, Scott Thomson
  • Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, John Davison
  • GoodLife Fitness, David Patchell-Evans
  • Google Canada, Sabrina Geremia
  • InnVest Hotels, Lydia Chen
  • Kruger Products, Dino Bianco
  • LifeLabs, Charles Brown
  • Linamar, Linda Hasenfratz
  • lululemon, Calvin McDonald
  • Maple Leaf Foods, Michael McCain
  • McKesson Canada, Rebecca McKillican
  • Nature's Path, Ratana Stephens
  • Recipe Unlimited, Frank Hennessey
  • Restaurant Brands International, José Cil
  • Revera, Tom Wellner
  • Ritchie Bros., Ann Fandozzi
  • Sienna Senior Living, Nitin Jain
  • Sobeys, Michael Medline
  • TELUS, Darren Entwistle
  • WestJet Airlines, Ed Sims

The co-editors’ and authors’ net proceeds from the sales of Unprecedented are being donated to United Way Centraide Canada for COVID recovery across Canada. To date, the project has contributed more than $3.5 million: Details here

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