Inaugural Toronto Global Board of Directors, 2017
Mark Cohon is an experienced sports and entertainment executive, proven turn-around expert, active public speaker, proud builder of Canadian brands and entrepreneur at heart.
In the sports world, Mark earned his exceptional reputation as a former executive with Major League Baseball International (MLB), where he was Director of Corporate and Game Development, and the National Basketball Association (NBA), where he was recruited by then Commissioner David Stern to serve as Director and Group Manager of International Marketing, Managing Director of NBA Europe, and Vice-President of Business Development.
When Mark retuned to his home in Canada, he became best known for his leadership as the 12th Commissioner of the Canadian Football League. Mark was the driving force behind the renaissance of the CFL. His eight-year stewardship of the league was a remarkable run that saw the CFL’s business model transformed and its brand rejuvenated. Strong attendance, record television ratings, $2 billion in new stadiums, strengthened corporate partnerships, a return to the nation’s capital and the almost tripling of team distributions from the league office were are all part of Mark’s legacy.
When Mark completed his successful run as Commissioner, he wanted to celebrate his love of Canada and pursue the true entrepreneur in him.
Mark, a music industry outsider, was appointed the Chairman of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, to oversee the transformation of the Juno Awards, the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and MusiCounts.
Mark was also appointed as the chief cheerleader of the Toronto Region as Chairman of Toronto Global, an agency funded by three levels of government to promote and attract Foreign Direct Investment. Mark oversaw the Toronto Region's pitch for Amazon HQ2, with Toronto successfully making the shortlist of only 20 cities out of 238 cities across North America.
Mark has also enthusiastically pursued his entrepreneurial spirit. He is the Executive Chairman and partner in the Georgian Bay Spirits Co, one of the fastest growing Canadian craft spirits company. Georgian Bay Spirit Co created a new spirit category with their hit, Georgian Bay Gin Smash, the best selling ready to drink in Ontario. In 2018 the company sold 7.5 million cans. In addition, Georgian Bay Vodka won “ Best Vodka in the World” at the prestigious San Francisco Spirits Competition.
Mark also sits on several important corporate boards. He is on the board of Ryerson Futures, the tech accelerator for Ryerson University and is Chair of Sensibill, a leading Canadian fin-tech company. He served as a board member of Cirque du Soleil Russia.
In 2013 Cohon was appointed to the Order of Ontario, the most prestigious official honour in Canada’s most populous province. And in 2015, he received the Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada for his transformative leadership of the CFL.
A former zookeeper at the Toronto Zoo during his high school years, in 1990 Mark led a three-month expedition in Siberia and the Canadian High Arctic. In 2001, he lived in the rain forests of Sumatra for a month to assist field scientists studying wild and semi-wild Orangutans. Mark served on the Board of World Wildlife Fund Canada, and is the past Chair of the Ontario Science Centre, one of the world's largest centres devoted to science and its impact on our lives.
Mark, a dual citizen of Canada and the United States, lives in Toronto with his wife Suzanne, their daughter and their crazy 6 year old German Shepherd.