Rod Baker, Neil Baker and Gordon Capital, the Disruptor of the 80s

Rod Baker's dad Neil Baker was a Bay Street legend!

Today, as part of my plan to build a valuable ThomsonReuters-like data platform, I am launching a new feature called Who's Your Daddy?  First up, Rod Baker, the former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming.  Who's Your Daddy, Rod Baker?  Right this minute, that would be Kelly McGill.  She's the Crown attorney who's conducting the criminal case stemming from Rod's vaccine tourism in the Yukon earlier this year.  The parties are in active discussion.  In theory, Rod and his wife face a maximum 6 months prison sentence, if convicted.  I have predicted that Rod would avoid jail time, but that has yet to happen.  We'll probably know next week.

Biologically, however, Rod's father is Neil Baker, who was big in finance in the 80s. After working for the Edper Brascan holding company that is at the origin of Brookfield, Neil Baker was one of the co-founders of Gordon Capital.  Gordon was a legendary Bay Street brokerage, what today would be called a disruptor.

Neil Baker has been called "one of Canada's best financial brains". On top of being second-in-command at Gordon Capital, Neil led the investment arm, Gordon Investment Partners.  Neil made bold, very concentrated bets.  For example, Gordon once tried to buy $3b worth of junk bonds with 10% down after the Savings & Loans crisis in the US in partnership with Li Ka-shing.

His involvement in Great Canadian Gaming is also good example.  He bought 6m shares of Great Canadian Gaming in  June 2011 from founder Ross McLeod at $8 per share, adding to his existing stake of 4m shares.  He sold most of his shares about 5 years later for triple the price.  Son Rod Baker started as a consultant for Great Canadian Gaming and eventually became CEO, where he led a restructuring of the company.  Rod was also associated with Neil Baker's merchant bank called Ridgeline Corporation.  Previous to that, he was an investment banker at RBC Capital Markets.  Considering that Ridgeline had about $200m in Great Canadian Gaming alone and decades of astute investing, the family is loaded.

Here's how Peter C. Newman described the revolution Gordon Capital unleashed in the 80s, in an old Maclean's article:

"What Gordon Capital's founders have set out to do is circumvent existing regulations, through entirely legal means, to create Canada's largest investment house.  The effect of their audacious move will be to alter totally the way corporate money is raised in Canada."

Interesting choice of words, Gordon played it close to the edge. If you wanted to make a Canadian movie with the wild antics of the Wolf of Wall Street, Gordon is the only candidate.  Unless there's another firm that had its own sailboat and a cocktail mixing butler on staff.  Anecdotes even The Globe has seen fit to print include two secretaries receiving breast implants as a bonus one year.  And CEO Jimmy Connacher showing up to an office Christmas party wearing nothing but a string of lights.  Some people on the Street still tell war stories about Gordon Capital, so I have written the Millennial's Guide to Gordon Capital.

Be warned that this is a serious study of disruption.  There will be no mention of two topless Gordon staffers cavorting in a bar, I leave that stuff to a down-market rag like The Globe.

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