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Companies owned by South African-born Canadian billionaire Jack Cockwell

Cockwell: A billionaire's impact on business and community development

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Jack Cockwell

Jack Cockwell, a South African-born accountant who transitioned into a prominent Canadian dealmaker, has established a noteworthy presence in the business arena. His substantial stake in Brookfield shares, a key contributor to his $2-billion fortune, extends his influence well beyond the borders of South Africa.

Raised in South Africa and trained as an accountant, Cockwell credits his success to the influence of his mother, Daphne Cockwell, and his business mentor, Peter Bronfman.

Under Bronfman’s guidance, he played a pivotal role in expanding the Bronfmans’ Edper conglomerate, venturing into real estate, forestry, and mining, laying the groundwork for what would later become Brookfield Asset Management.

Transitioning to leadership in 2002, Cockwell’s dedication to philanthropy and environmental causes shines through. He’s chaired boards, donated generously to educational institutions like Ryerson University and George Brown College, and championed conservation efforts, overseeing the development of a wildlife reserve in central Ontario.

Beyond his corporate endeavors, Cockwell remains deeply engaged in community development, serving on various boards including the Royal Ontario Museum and Toronto Metropolitan University. His commitment to both corporate leadership and community betterment reflects a multifaceted approach to making a lasting impact.

Billionaires.Africa highlights Cockwell’s investments across diverse companies, showcasing his influence in shaping not only corporate landscapes but also communities.

  1. Brookfield Asset Management
    During the 1970s to the early 1990s, Cockwell championed the expansion of the Bronfmans’ Edper conglomerate, ultimately rebranded as Brookfield Asset Management. This conglomerate, now a global financial juggernaut, spans real estate, forestry, and mining. Cockwell’s brilliance culminated in a pivotal transition in 2002 when he handed over the reins to fellow billionaire Bruce Flatt. This contributed significantly to Brookfield’s growth, transforming it into one of the world’s leading management firms.
  1. Rogers Communications
    In 2021, Cockwell assumed a transformative role within Rogers Communications, a leading Canadian communications and media company. His appointment brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Control Trust’s governance structure. With 5,000 ordinary shares, Cockwell played a crucial role in shaping the strategic direction of Rogers Communications, reinforcing its position as a key player in the dynamic communications landscape.
  1. Brookfield Corporation
    As a director since September 1979, Cockwell has been integral to the success of Brookfield Corporation. This Canadian multinational stands among the world’s largest alternative investment management firms, boasting $850 billion in assets under management as of 2023. Cockwell, a distinguished dealmaker, holds 2.54 percent of the 39,494,789 ordinary shares, exerting influence that has undoubtedly contributed to Brookfield’s status as a global leader in alternative investment management.
  1. Partners Limited
    In 1995, Cockwell co-founded Partners Limited, pioneering structured finance, equities, and financial integration. His commitment to transparent deal-making and dedication to growth at all levels have positioned Partners Limited as a key player in the business landscape.
  1. Brookfield Partners Foundation
    Beyond business, Cockwell serves as the Chair of the Brookfield Partners Foundation. This foundation, under his leadership, has made a substantial impact, exemplified by the Cockwell family’s generosity to Ryerson University’s Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, exceeding $28 million. This philanthropic endeavor solidifies Cockwell’s status as one of Ryerson’s most generous private sector benefactors, supporting innovation and entrepreneurship across the campus and beyond.

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