It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear colleague and friend, Tony Hepburn. Many of you will know Tony or recognize his name, as a former President and CEO and Chairman of our firm, or even as your Portfolio Manager. To us, he has been the unwavering face of Odlum Brown for over 50 years, guiding us through the rough spots, celebrating with us the successes and consistently leading by example with his fair and gentle manner.
Tony immigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1960 to join Price Waterhouse Company in Montreal, and transferred to Vancouver two years later. In 1969, Tony joined Odlum Brown as Manager of Investment Research, and the firm gained a steward for life.
Tony was appointed President and CEO in 1978, and for 23 years oversaw Odlum Brown’s evolution into the firm we are today. As current Chair Andy Eisenbock said at this year’s Annual General Meeting, “I would argue that no one was more influential in the growth and success of Odlum Brown than Tony.”
A staunch defender of the firm’s independence, Tony expertly preserved our longstanding values while simultaneously adapting to a changing industry and evolving client needs. He may have made this look easy at the time, but I am certain looking back that it was anything but. Tony’s vision and commitment played an integral role in the growth of Odlum Brown, and to this day is foundational to our continued success. During his tenure as President and CEO, the firm grew from 65 team members and four branches to 200 team members and six branches. Also during that time, Odlum Brown was first recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, a distinction we hold proudly to this day.
In 2001, Tony transitioned to the role of Chairman, a position he held for 17 years. In this role, Tony was a constant source of support, guidance and mentorship to me personally, and to many others. He was also instrumental in designing a robust and thoughtful succession plan to ensure Odlum Brown would be well positioned many years into the future.
In 2018, Tony was appointed Odlum Brown’s first Chair Emeritus in recognition of his long and distinguished service and continuing contributions to the firm. Indeed, Tony did not retire when he stepped away from the Chairman role. His passion for this firm, its people and, above all, his clients motivated him to continue managing a substantial asset base as a Portfolio Manager, serving clients with the utmost care until his passing.
I cannot overstate what Tony’s support and guidance over all this time meant to me, to his clients, and to so many of us at Odlum Brown.
Tony was also highly influential within the Canadian investment community, embodying Odlum Brown’s deeply held value of supporting the communities where we live and work. Through extensive volunteerism on numerous boards and advisory committees, both industry-related and philanthropic, Tony made a difference. Among other roles, he served as the Chairman and Governor of the Vancouver Stock Exchange, was a recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award from Simon Fraser University and was elected a Fellow (FPCA, FCA) of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC (now the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia).
Tony Hepburn determined long ago that Odlum Brown’s path forward was to maintain both our independence and the level of service we provide – and he was absolutely right. For over 53 years, Odlum Brown benefited from Tony’s leadership, wisdom and kindness. And although he is no longer here in person, that impact will be felt for years, for decades – for generations.
To the Hepburn family, and to all who knew and loved Tony, all of us at Odlum Brown offer our deepest condolences.