Explore our rich history
1870 – 1889
Andrew RobertsonPresident from
June 1880 to March 1890
Andrew Robertson emigrated from Scotland to Canada in 1853, quickly establishing himself as one of Montréal’s leading merchants. In addition to becoming the first president of The Bell Telephone Company of Canada, he held prominent roles at the Montréal General Hospital and the Montréal Harbour Commission.
Mary Rosetta Warren
Mary Rosetta Warren was one of the first telephone operators hired by Bell in Montréal in 1880. She became a clerk in 1891 and eventually joined the Office of the President in charge of correspondence and records – the first woman appointed to a position within that office.
1880 – 1891
The Board of Directors adopted the first crest as Company By-law No. 14 on June 16, 1880 and it received the approval of the shareholders at a special meeting on December 13 the same year. A double red band receiver, the type used on telephone sets of the period, is depicted along with the company’s name and date of incorporation.
New products hit the market
Launch of the Blake magneto wall set, one of the first telephone models leased to clients by the newly incorporated Bell Telephone Company of Canada. The phone consists of three boxes mounted on a backboard. The top box contains the bells and the magneto generator used to signal the operator. In the middle is the transmitter, while the bottom box houses a battery. The receiver hangs on a hook on the side of the magneto.
1890 – 1909
Charles Fleetford SisePresident from
May 1890 to February 1915
Former sea captain Charles Fleetford Sise arrived in Montréal from the US in March 1880 with a mandate by the owners of Bell’s patents to help organize a Canadian telephone company. Before becoming president, Mr. Sise directed the day-to-day operations of the company as General Manager. He is considered the founder of The Bell Telephone Company of Canada, incorporated by Federal Charter on April 29, 1880.
1910 - 1929
Lewis Brown McFarlanePresident from
February 1915 to March 1925
Montréal-born Lewis McFarlane expressed an interest in telegraphy as early as 1865. As an employee of the Dominion Telegraph Company, his work on behalf of Alexander Graham Bell led to the world’s first one-way long distance call between Brantford and Paris, Ontario in 1876. He joined Bell in 1880.
Charles Fleetford Sise, Jr.President from
March 1925 to November 1944
Son of Charles Fleetford Sise Sr., C.F. Sise Jr. graduated from McGill University in 1897 with a degree in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering before embarking on apprenticeships with the Ottawa Electric Company, the Northern Electric Company, and American Telephone & Telegraph in New York, finally joining Bell in 1899. During his 19 years as President, Mr. Sise’s foresight and sound business judgement advanced the company in the quality and scope of its service and its financial stability.
1930 – 1949
Supporting colleagues at the front
To help aid the war effort, employees knit, roll bandages, entertain troops, and organize Victory Loan bond drives. In total, 2,543 Bell team members enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces or were redeployed to technical or other work during WWII. 93 made the ultimate sacrifice.
Frederick JohnsonPresident from
November 1944 to June 1953
Mr. Johnson began his business career in 1904 with the National Telephone Company in Southport, England where he was born. He immigrated to Canada in 1910 and joined Bell as a ledger-keeper that same year. He served successively as Accountant, Chief Accountant, Assistant Comptroller, Comptroller and Vice-President before being named President in 1944. His time in office was marked by the completion of Bell’s wartime service initiatives and the subsequent challenges of post-war development.
1947 – 1965
President Frederick Johnson approved this new logo in April 1947. The principal changes incorporated in the new emblem were: the substitution of the words “Local and Long Distance Telephone” for “Service” on the bell, the re-design of the bell, and an increase in the size and clarity of the company name.
1950 – 1969
Thomas Wardrope EadiePresident from
July 1953 to July 1963
Thomas Eadie graduated from McGill University with an Engineering degree in 1923 and immediately signed on with the company. Over the next 3 decades he occupied various engineering and administrative positions before being appointed President. In the 1950’s, Mr. Eadie presided over the company’s role in building the Trans Canada Microwave System, a major engineering achievement at the time.
Marcel VincentPresident from
1963 to August 1968
August 1968 to December 1972
Montréal’s Marcel Vincent joined the company in 1927 following his graduation from l’Université de Montréal (École des Hautes Études Commerciales) with a Master’s degree in Commerce. Following a 4 year leave of absence for naval duty from 1941 to 1945, he returned to Bell, steadily advancing through a variety of management positions. As President and CEO, he guided the organization through important developments in computer and satellite communications.
1965 – 1976
On July 30, 1965, President Marcel Vincent consented to modifications to the Company logo to reinforce the Canadian identity of ownership, management and service. The new logo displays the words “Bell Canada” and replaces both the English and French crests. In 1968, an Act of Parliament amended the company charter to include Bell Canada as one the legal names.
Jean S. Carter
Jean S. Carter joined Bell in 1945 as a clerk in the Personnel department in Montréal. In 1949, she transferred to the Employee Relations department as Staff Assistant, Employee Security Programs. In 1965 she was appointed General Supervisor, Benefits and Thrift and Secretary of the Employees’ Benefit Committee – the most senior position held by a woman at Bell up until that time.
Robert Carleton ScrivenerPresident from
August 1968 to January 1973
from January 1973 to May 1976
Mr. Scrivener graduated with a degree in modern history from the University of Toronto in 1937 and joined the company the same year, taking on a variety of roles in the commercial, traffic, marketing and public relations departments until 1960. He held various roles including Vice-President Finance, Vice-President Operations and Executive Vice-President Operations. As President, he paved the way for the creation of Bell-Northern Research. His keen understanding of digital network technology drove Northern Electric, then a subsidiary of Bell, to become a leader in the international switching market.
1970 – 1989
Albert Jean de GrandpréPresident from
January 1973 to April 1976
May 1976 to April 1983
A native of Montréal, Mr. de Grandpré graduated from McGill University in 1943 with a degree in Civil Law. He joined Bell Canada on January 1, 1966 as General Counsel and before becoming Vice-President Law, Executive Vice-President Administration, Executive Vice-President (Eastern Region) and finally President of Bell Canada in 1973, where he presided over the creation of BCE Inc. in 1983.
Claire Rochon joined Bell in 1963 as a Long Distance Operator and later worked at the TV Operations Center and Switched Network Analysis Centre. In 1973, working on one of the longest toll main frames in North America, she became the company’s first woman Central Office (CO) Manager.
James Carden ThackrayPresident from
May 1976 to April 1983
April 1983 to October 1984
Following a career path influenced by his grandfather James E. Macpherson, a former Bell VP, James Thackray left McGill University in 1942 to join the Navy but resumed his studies after the war, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree before joining Bell in 1946. In the 1970s he began exporting the company’s telecommunications expertise to help several Middle Eastern countries advance their own communications networks, including Saudi Arabia.
1976 – 1977
Bell art director, Colin McMichael, simplified the bell to present a more contemporary look. Coincident with the introduction of this logo, a new corporate signature, a stacked “Bell Canada”, made its first public appearance. The signature and logo were not used together. In fact, the signature spelled the eventual demise of the pictorial bell.
Marion Van Dyke
Marion Van Dyke joined Bell in 1953 and went on to manage Bell’s $1 billion pension fund. In 1977, she became the first woman officer of the Financial Analysts Federation, a professional organization that represented more than 15,000 securities analysts and investment managers.
1977 – 1994
Don Black, corporate design manager, was one of the key persons involved in developing this word-symbol version of the corporate logo, making its first appearance on company vehicles in 1977. It replaced the bell symbol that, in a succession of different forms, had served as the company’s official symbol since 1895 and was linked in many people’s minds with the “telephone company”. Bell was on its way to becoming much more.
J.V. Raymond CyrPresident from
April 1983 to December 1986
October 1984 to December 1986
Born and educated in Montréal, Mr. Cyr earned a Bachelor of Applied Science degree from l’Université de Montréal (École Polytechnique) in 1958 before joining Bell as an engineer. In 1970 he was appointed Chief Engineer in Québec City, advancing to positions of increasing seniority. In addition to his responsibilities as President, he was appointed Chief Executive Officer in October 1984 and Chairman of the Board in October 1985. An exceptional engineer and executive, Mr. Cyr grasped both the technical and corporate opportunities at Bell in the early days of cellular technology.
Jean Andrea Bernard
Jean Andrea Bernard joined Bell in 1961 and held a variety of Accounting positions over the years in Montréal and Ottawa before becoming Assistant Vice-President, Audits in 1980. In 1985 she is appointed Vice President of Personnel, becoming the first woman to hold a VP-level position at Bell. Mrs. Bernard was also known for her community involvement and her support for organizations that helped the under privileged.
Léonce MontambaultPresident & CEO from
January 1987 to April 1989
May 1989 to July 1990
Mr. Montambault graduated from Université Laval with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1953 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering in 1957. He joined Bell in May 1957 and occupied various positions in the Engineering, Plant, Commercial, Traffic and Personnel Departments in Québec City, Montréal and Ottawa. Starting in 1976, he served in a variety of senior management positions, before his appointment as President. Under Mr. Montambault’s leadership, Bell successfully completed the full digital modernization of its network.
Jean C. MontyPresident from
May 1989 to June 1990
President & CEO from
July 1990 to June 1991
July 1991 to October 1992
February 1998 to May 2002
Montréal-born Jean Monty graduated from Collège Sainte-Marie with a Bachelor of Arts degree, going on to earn a Master of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Western Ontario and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago. He joined Bell in 1974 and held a variety of positions within BCE, including President of Télébec Ltée, Vice-President Customer Service, Québec Region and Executive Vice-President of BCE. Mr. Monty was appointed President of Bell Canada in May 1989, bringing his deep experience and understanding of markets, telecommunications and technology to the helm of Bell and BCE.
1990 – 2009
Robert KearneyPresident & CEO from
July 1991 to December 1993
A graduate of Queens University in Belfast, Ireland, Mr. Kearney joined Bell in 1958 at the Treasury Department before moving on to a variety of management and technical positions in Accounting and Systems. He accepted a position with Bell Telephone Laboratories in New Jersey in January 1968, returning to Bell Canada in July 1974 where he held increasingly senior management positions both within Bell and BCE.
John T. McLennanPresident & CEO from
January 1994 to September 1997
Mr. McLennan holds a Bachelor of Science and Master’s of Industrial Management degree from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. Prior to his appointment as President of Bell, he was President and CEO of BCE Mobile and President of Bell Ontario. During the McLennan era, Bell unveiled a 3-year plan to streamline operations in order to allow a more effective response to the market and Bell customers.
1994 – 2008
On December 8, 1994, Bell Canada launched a distinctive new logo. At the center is the human profile, representing Bell employees and the focus of all their efforts, the customer. The profile is set within two open rings, symbolizing the dynamic future of telecommunications—the ability to transmit sound, image and data instantly, wirelessly, across all frontiers. The Bell name appears directly beneath the profile, a graphic representation of how the company supports customers in all their communications needs. As our primary colour for nearly two decades, the blue reflects and builds on tradition, but with a more vibrant tone. The warm yellow shade represents change.
Bringing the Internet to our customers
The launch of Sympatico Internet and our website Bell.ca.
Ronald W. OsbornePresident & CEO from
September 1997 to February 1998
Mr. Osborne earned a degree from Cambridge University in 1968 before becoming an accountant at a Toronto-based firm 4 years later. He joined BCE as Chief Financial Officer in 1995 and was appointed President of BCE in 1996.
John A. MacDonaldPresident from
February 1998 to June 1999
Mr. MacDonald joined the company in 1994 as Executive Vice-President, Business Development and Chief Technology Officer, following a successful 17-year career with the New Brunswick Telephone Company. He is a graduate of Dalhousie University and the Technical School of Nova Scotia, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering.
From telephones to satellite TV
The first Bell World store opens in Montréal. Combining Bell Canada and Bell Mobility retail operations, the stores are the first in Canada to provide complete and integrated communications solutions including wireline, wireless, and direct-to-home satellite broadcasting services.
John W. SheridanPresident from
October 2000 to June 2003
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, John Sheridan pursued undergraduate studies at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, ultimately obtaining a Master’s degree in business and economics at Queen’s University. He joined Bell in 1979 and held numerous executive positions during his 24-year career with the company. Under his direction as President, Bell focused its efforts on wireless and data markets, as well as the Internet, while expanding the company’s national reach.
Michael J. SabiaCEO from
May 2002 to July 2008
A native of St. Catharines, Ontario, Michael Sabia joined the BCE group of companies as Vice-Chairman of Bell Canada International in October 1999. He assumed a dual role as BCE Executive Vice-President and Bell Canada Vice-Chair, Corporate on July 3, 2000 and became President of BCE later that year. In March 2002, he was appointed President and Chief Operating of BCE and Chief Operating Officer of Bell Canada, succeeding Jean Monty as President and CEO of BCE a few months later.
The former President and CEO of data centre operator Q9 Networks and a former President and CEO of Bell Aliant (2008 to 2014), Karen Sheriff joined Bell’s Board of Directors in April 2017. Ms. Sheriff was also a director of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and held various senior leadership positions at BCE.
On August 8, 2008, Bell launched a new logo, tagline and advertising campaign to underline its move forward. The new Bell logo is a strong and clear representation of the company that proudly wears the traditional Blue. The brand’s combination of strength and simplicity supports the company’s strategy of delivering a better customer experience at every level.
George CopePresident and CEO from
July 2008 to January 2020
A graduate of the Ivey School of Business at Western University, George Cope created and led cellphone provider Clearnet before his appointment as Bell’s Chief Operating Officer in 2006, eventually becoming President and CEO in July 2008. In 2010, Mr. Cope led the launch of the Bell Let’s Talk initiative, the largest-ever corporate commitment to Canadian mental health and one of the country’s most prominent community investment campaigns. Under Mr. Cope’s leadership, Bell became the largest TV and Internet provider in Canada and executed numerous strategic investments and acquisitions, including leading brands like CTV, Astral, The Source, Bell Aliant, Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS), Virgin Mobile Canada, the Montreal Canadiens, and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, including the NBA Champion Toronto Raptors.
2010 – today
Martine Turcotte joined Bell in 1988 and was appointed Chief Legal Officer in 2000, becoming the first woman at Bell to hold that title and also the youngest person ever to be promoted to Bell’s executive team. In 2011, she became Vice-Chair, Québec , overseeing Bell’s business throughout the province. She has been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women multiple times.
Black professionals at Bell
Black Professionals at Bell (BPB) is created to support professional development, raise cultural awareness and attract new talent to ensure Bell maintains a work environment where everyone has the opportunity and support to achieve their full potential.
Mirko BibicPresident and CEO from
Bell’s current President and CEO, Mirko Bibic holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University and a Law degree from the University of Toronto. He joined Bell in 2004 as Senior Vice President, Regulatory, before serving as Executive Vice President, Corporate Development, Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer, eventually becoming Bell’s Chief Operating Officer in 2018, responsible for all operations of Bell Mobility, Bell Business Markets, and Bell Residential and Small Business. Mr. Bibic has played a critical leadership role in the company's strategic transformation over the last decade including the expansion of Bell Wireless Home Internet, the acceleration of Bell prepaid wireless and strategic planning for Bell's 5G future.
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