Global Processing

Maple Leaf Chairman Wallace McCain Dies

May 17, 2011

Wallace McCain, chairman of the Canadian food empire Maple Leaf Foods Inc., and co-founder of McCain Foods Ltd., died Friday night after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer, reports The Wall Street Journal. He was 81. His death in Toronto was announced Saturday by Maple Leaf''s board of directors, who have yet to determine his successor. "His incredible success in business was always balanced with the importance of family and community," said Michael McCain, chief executive of Maple Leaf Foods and Wallace''s son. "He had unwavering values that defined him and everything he did." Wallace McCain was known for building New Brunswick, Canada-based McCain Foods Ltd. from a small frozen French fry business in 1950s to a global frozen food colossus with his brother, Harrison McCain. The two brothers were known for their acumen in snapping up businesses in Europe and the U.S., expanding their company into Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. in less than 15 years. But a feud with his brother over the suitability of his son, Michael, to lead the company erupted to a legal wrangle in the mid-1990s, forcing Wallace to an unceremonious exit from the company in 1994. Harrison, who died in 2004, succeeded in the legal battle and named his nephew, Allison McCain as his successor. A year after his exit from McCain Foods, Wallace McCain and his sons acquired Maple Leaf Foods, where Michael McCain is now the chief executive. Maple Leaf Foods has 21,000 employees at operations across Canada, the U.S., U.K. and Asia.