Birthday: August 25, 1944
Age: 77 Years, 77 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Virgo
Also Known As: Conrad Moffat Black, Baron Black of Crossharbour
Born in: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Famous as: Former Newspaper Publisher, Author, Investor
Spouse/Ex-: Joanna Hishon (1978–1992) Barbara Amiel, Lady Black (m. 1992)
father: George Montegu Black, Jr
mother: Jean Elizabeth Riley
siblings: George Montegu Black III
City: Montreal, Canada
Who is Conrad Black?
From popularity and admiration to defamation and loathing by the public, Conrad Black is a man who has seen it all. Born into a wealthy and respected family, Conrad always felt that he was different from the rest of his family. His parents were very cultured and sophisticated people while his elder brother was a talented athlete. Young Conrad felt he lacked his family’s refinement though he grew up to be a very clever and astute young man. He was sent to some of the best educational institutes to study where his inherent penchant for fraud began to show its ugly head. He stole and sold exam papers in his school to make some quick money and was expelled from college for displaying inappropriate behavior. Nevertheless, it could not be denied that he was highly intelligent and began managing several businesses after college. At one time he controlled one of the world’s largest English language newspaper empires. Over the decade of 2000s, it came to light that there were several irregularities in the way the funds of the companies he held were managed. He was found guilty on several charges and told to pay a massive amount as compensation and fine.
Childhood & Early Life
He was born in Quebec to George Black and Jean Elizabeth Riley. His father was the president of Canadian Winnipeg Breweries while his mother was the daughter of a wealthy businessman. His family was very well-to-do. He has one brother.
He first went to Upper Canada College from where he was expelled when he was caught stealing and selling exam papers. He then moved to Trinity College School where again he was expelled for bad behavior.
He kept hopping from one college to another before finally completing his law degree from Universite Laval in 1970 and a Master of Arts degree in history from McGill University in 1973.
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Along with his partners David Radler and Peter White, he began acquiring several small Canadian newspapers and formed a holding company Sterling Newspapers Ltd.
His father died in 1976 leaving him and his brother a 22.4% stake in Ravelston Corporation which held a major voting control in Argus Corporation, a large Canadian holding company.
Black became a director of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in 1977. Because of his father’s influence he had become acquainted with the prominent businessmen Bud McDougald and E. P. Taylor, the founder of Argus.
He acquired Ravelston and Argus with a payment of $30 million in 1978 after the death of McDougald. At the age of 33 Black’s acquisition of Argus, one of Canada’s largest conglomerates came as a big surprise to business establishments.
He withdrew over $56 million from the Dominion workers’ pension plan in 1984 for his shareholders without consulting plan members. The Dominion Union took him to court and ordered the company to return the money to the pension fund.
In 1985 he acquired control of Britain’s ‘Daily Telegraph’ and five years later he bought ‘The Jerusalem Post’. His company Hollinger Inc., created in 1986 was the holding company for his newspapers. By 1990 his company ran over 400 small newspapers in North America.
Hollinger launched ‘National Post’ in 1998 and sold several newspapers over the next few years for millions of dollars, several of the deals were “non-compete” agreements for Hollinger insiders.
In 2003 New York based investment firm Tweedy Browne Co. which had an 18% stake in Hollinger demanded Hollinger to look into the alleged excessive payments made to Black and Radler.
Black resigned as CEO of Hollinger in 2003 as a special committee report stated that $32.15 million had been given as unauthorized payments to Black and some other parties.
Hollinger International fired Black in 2004 and launched a $200 million lawsuit against him, Radler and some other parties for causing the company to endure unreasonable fees over the past many years.
In late 2004, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil fraud charges against Black and Radler.
He was convicted in U.S. District Court in Chicago in 2007 and was sentenced to serve 6.5 years in prison and pay Hollinger $6.1 million. He was also told to pay $125,000 as fine. He was released in May 2012 after his sentence was shortened for good conduct.
He was fined $6.1 million in penalties for securities law violations as the chairman of Hollinger International in October 2012. In 2014 the Tax Court of Canada stated that he owed $5.1 million to the Canadian Government in form of income accrued.
Conrad Black was a highly influential business tycoon who once controlled Hollinger International which was once one of the world’s largest English language newspaper publishers. He was however fired from the board of directors once his fraudulent practices came to light.
Awards & achievements
He was honored with ‘officer of the Order of Canada’ in 1990. However, he was stripped of this honor after he was convicted of fraud and felony.
Personal Life & Legacy
He married Joanna Hishon, a secretary working in his brother’s office, in 1978. The couple had three children and divorced in 1992.
He married journalist Barbara Amiel shortly after his divorce.