Mark Cohon

Chair

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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 sports, Mark is best known for his leadership as the 12th Commissioner of the Canadian Football League. Mark was the driving force behind the renaissance of the league. His eight-year stewardship of the CFL 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.

Mark is routinely listed among the most influential people in Canadian sport. He is a former executive with Major League Baseball International (MLB), where he was Director of Corporate and Game Development, and the National Basketball Association, 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.

Former Chief Development Officer for Petopia, a multi-channel retailer in the United States, Mark was also the President and CEO of AudienceView, an event ticketing firm that grew under his leadership to claim such prominent international clients as the Toronto Blue Jays, the new Wembley Stadium, Churchill Downs and MGM Inc.

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. Recently, Mark was also appointed to the new role as Chairman of Toronto Global, a new agency funded by three levels of government to promote Foreign Direct Investment into Canada's most populous and rapidly expanding region.

Mark served on the Board of World Wildlife Fund Canada, and is past Chair of the Ontario Science Centre, one of the world's largest centres devoted to science and its impact on our lives.

In the corporate world, Mark sits on a few important boards. He is the Chairman and partner in the Georgian Bay Spirits Company, a fast growing Canadian craft spirits company bringing mixology to the masses. Georgian Bay Spirit Co created a new spirit category with their hit, Georgian Bay Gin Smash, a craft cocktail in a can. He served as a board member of Cirque du Soleil Russia, is on the board of Ryerson Futures, the tech accelerator for Ryerson University and is Chair of Sensibill Inc, a leading digital receipts company.

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, a dual citizen of Canada and the United States, lives in Toronto with his wife Suzanne, their daughter and their crazy 4 year old German Shepherd.