Remembering Paul Reynolds, familyman and the late CEO of Canaccord Genuity

Remembering Paul Reynolds, familyman and the late CEO of Canaccord Genuity

Moving eulogy for Paul Reynolds, the late Canaccord Genuity boss, via GlobeandMail.com:

Paul Reynolds

When Paul Reynolds decided to do something, he went full bore. He turned his laser-like focus and boundless energy to the task at hand. He loved a challenge. A few years ago, on a warm summer night in Whistler, a close friend encouraged him to get fit for his young children by training for a triathlon. He was in. The next morning when sober second thought should have crept in, Paul was resolute. He was going to compete in the Lavaman Waikoloa triathlon the following spring.

He hired a triathlon coach, learned to ride a road bike, focused on nutrition and studied his swim stroke. For months, he would wake up at dawn and go downstairs to the gym with his youngest kids, Anderson and Audrey, trailing behind.

Paul completed that first triathlon last March in Kona. He took great pleasure, and humour, in calling himself a ‘triathlete.’ Anderson and Audrey told anyone who would listen that their daddy was a ‘triathlete.’ Often, mistakenly, they told people their daddy did the ‘Ironman.’ Paul never corrected them! He relished their admiration and adoration and took pride in being a good example for them.

Over the past year Paul worked harder than ever to prepare for his second Lavaman. Family and friends in tow, he arrived in Maui two weeks early to prepare. Each morning he and two Toronto buddies would set out for their daily workout. The kids followed them to the pool often chirping advice. They would stand at one end and watch. As daddy approached they often waved to get his attention to ask a question. He always stopped to answer.

A few days before the race, the gang set off to Kona on the Big Island. They were excited to meet up with friends from Melbourne, Vancouver and New York whom Paul had convinced to join the race. They celebrated his 52nd birthday the next evening.

The morning of the race Paul was his usual calm, confident and collected self. He kissed his wife and kids and told them he loved them before walking to the start line. He was looking forward to finishing so he could return to the hotel for a poolside Mai Tai. It was not to be.

Paul was born on March 26, 1963, in Edmonton, Alberta to Margaret (Munday) and the Hon. John Reynolds, P. C., former Conservative Member of Parliament. He was the first of their five children (Mike, Rob, Kelly, Kate). The family settled in Delta, BC and the kids enjoyed an active childhood and family life with their siblings. They went outside in the morning and didn’t come back until dinner. All sorts of mischief took place in the interim. In time his parents separated and remarried, but the family remained a close knit group. John and his wife Yvonne added to the family as they welcomed a new son (Chris) and introduced stepbrother Neil (who fit in immediately). Margaret also remarried (Steve Munday).The family regularly gets together for big, boisterous family dinners. More often than not, Paul was the convener of these dinners and other family events. He loved bringing everyone together and relished his various roles in the family – eldest son, big brother, uncle, best friend, and mentor.

Paul had a head for business from the beginning. He always held two or three jobs at a time. It was during his time selling vacuums door to door that he discovered a valuable skill. After school, and on weekends, he would lug his demo Compact vacuum on the bus. He would knock on doors, talk his way in, and horrify parents when he vacuumed their mattress and removed the filter. ‘Do you want little Bobby crawling around on this’ he would say, holding up the filthy filter. At 15 years of age he became the number one Compact vacuum salesmen in the lower mainland. He caught the bug.

Curious and independent, upon graduation Paul left home to spend a year in Australia. He surfed, picked up girls, and lived on beer and handouts from his Australian cousin. When that wasn’t enough he’d get a job. He worked at a waterslide, tinted car windows, and built houses.

When he returned to Vancouver he enrolled at a community college, but dropped out after being offered a job on the floor of the Vancouver Stock Exchange. In 1985, Paul joined Canaccord’s Vancouver office. It was the beginning of a brilliant 30-year career in the global capital markets.

At 22 years of age, Paul married Nicole Ryan. They had two boys, Ryan and Cole. Working as an Investment Advisor on the West Coast, he finished early and would go to the gym before picking up Ryan from school and taking him to hockey practice or other activities. They had season tickets to the Vancouver Canucks hockey games and he would often bring his boys.

After a few years as an advisor he switched to investment banking. He enjoyed a successful career advising and financing early stage companies. But he had bigger dreams. In 1999 the young family moved to London, England. Paul became the President and Chief Operating Officer of the firm’s European operations. It was soon the company’s most profitable division. The deal flow was legendary. At its height in 2005 Paul was instrumental in procuring uranium assets in Kazakhstan and quickly raising $500 million dollars for UrAsia Energy. The company merged with Uranium One in 2007 in a $5 billion deal.

Around this time, Paul and Nicole divorced amicably. They remained dedicated parents to their sons, Ryan and Cole.

Paul was promoted to President and CEO of Canaccord Financial (which later formed Canaccord Genuity). Shortly after, while on a business trip to Vancouver he met his wife, Corina Taylor. He’d fly in for a date and then return to London the next day. After their third date, Paul changed his flight to stay in Vancouver an extra day. He called Corina at work in the morning, explaining he had to stay and asked her for dinner that evening. That pattern continued for three months. He proposed marriage in Portofino and moved back to Vancouver. He loved being back in Canada and took pleasure in walking the seawall, heading to Whistler for the weekend and watching his beloved Canucks.

In 2009, Paul and Corina welcomed a son Anderson. In 2010, after Canaccord acquired Genuity, the family moved to Toronto where they welcomed baby Audrey.

Although he didn’t have more free time, he had gained perspective. He had a new lease on life and refocused on what was important. He devoted himself to being a ‘hands on’ dad first and foremost. He changed diapers, learned how to cook, and loved nothing more than cuddling on the couch with Anderson and Audrey.

He travelled often for business but never failed to FaceTime his young family each day and tell them he loved them. If his trip spanned a weekend he would often fly home for less than 24 hours just to be home. In recent years he talked frequently about slowing down and enjoying his children.

Paul was a passionate collector of art, wine and most importantly, friends. They came from all walks of life, the more colourful the better. There was rarely a city he travelled where he wouldn’t be invited into a friend’s home for a meal and glass of wine. Paul’s network of loyal friends is immense, and they often gathered around his Toronto dinner table to dine on his self-proclaimed ‘world famous lemon chicken.’

Throughout his life he was committed to making meaningful charitable donations. He served on the boards of the International Crisis Group, SickKids Hospital, and on the Global Commerce Advisory Panel for the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

He will be sorely missed by his loving wife Corina, his children Ryan, Cole, Anderson and Audrey, his devoted parents John (Yvonne) Reynolds and Margaret (Steve) Munday, siblings Michael (Suzanne) Reynolds, Robert (Christine) Reynolds, Kelly (Greg) Doyle, Neil (Valerie) Johnson, Kate Reynolds (Craig Devisser) and Chris (Aliya) Reynolds. He will be remembered with love and affection by sisters-in-law Marisa (Chris) Thomas, Julie Taylor and parents-in-law Sherrin and Tony Taylor. Paul was a devoted uncle to Danai (Sam) Cummings, Thomas Reynolds, Mackenzie Reynolds, Brooklyn Reynolds, Jacob Doyle, Sarah Doyle, Nikolai Johnson, Hayley Anderson, Olivia Devisser and to Lauren and Natalie Thomas.

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