Paul J. Johnson
Paul J. Johnson, CM, ONL, LLD, was born in 1929 in St. John’s, Newfoundland, the son of Arthur and Marjorie (Jolliffe) Johnson. He attended Holloway School (Newfoundland), King’s Collegiate School (Nova Scotia), Mount Allison Academy, and left before graduating at Mount Allison University (New Brunswick). In 1949, he entered the family business, Johnson Insurance. In 1953, he became Managing Director, and in 1955, he became Chief Executive Officer and bought ownership of the company. His leadership team pioneered 67 innovations in the insurance field. By 1995, Johnson Insurance operated in every province in Canada. It is the fastest growing general insurance company in Canada. By 2007, it had achieved annual billings and group assets of over $1 billion each. In 1997, Paul Johnson retired and sold his shares in Johnson Insurance but ensured its continued autonomy, with the head office to remain in Newfoundland. In 1987, he established the Johnson Family Foundation. He has devoted his retirement, and most proceeds from sale of his shares, to preserve and present the history and natural heritage of Newfoundland. The Foundation, with excellent collaborators, expert teamwork, and co-sponsor financial contributions, has completed over $50 million of work in over 20 projects. During his business career, Paul Johnson was Chair of the St. John’s Heritage Foundation (7 years), the St. John’s Housing Authority (7 years), and the Salvation Army Advisory Board (8 years). He was a Director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Development Corporation (9 years). He also served as co-chair of a foundation which completed the Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador. In 1993, Paul Johnson received the Order of Canada; in 1994, doctor of laws honoris causa from Memorial University; in 1997, Freedom of the City of St. John’s; in 2004, one of the first recipients of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador; also in 2004, the Community Service Award from the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, the Ernst & Young Award as Atlantic Entrepreneur of the Year, and the Environmental Award from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists. In 2008, he was inducted into the Newfoundland Business Hall of Fame. Paul Johnson is an honorary member of the St. John’s Rotary Club (Paul Harris Fellow), the Newfoundland Historic Parks Association, the Salvation Army Newfoundland Advisory Board, the Newfoundland Association of Architects, and the Newfoundland Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists. He has received the Salvation Army Distinguished Order of Service Gold Medal, the Canadian Parks Service National Heritage Award, the Canadian Commemorative Medal for Canada’s 125th Anniversary, and the Distinguished Service Award from the General Hospital Health Foundation.