Recognized for his visionary commitment to innovation, sustainability, and the growth and prosperity of Manitoba, Robert Brennan is also a dedicated philanthropist and enthusiastic champion of his community.
Mr. Brennan retired from Manitoba Hydro in 2011 as its longest serving President and Chief Executive Officer. During his tenure he transformed the Crown Corporation into a modern, customer-driven electric and gas utility that has become one of the major drivers of the provincial economy.
A chartered accountant, Mr. Brennan is an elected a Fellow of Chartered Accountants with the Manitoba Institute of Chartered Accountants. In 1965 he joined Manitoba Hydro where he quickly moved up the ranks, fulfilling various managerial positions on the accounting and finance side of the firm, becoming Vice-President of Finance in 1987. He then briefly served as Senior Vice-President Finance and Administration before becoming CEO in 1990.
As a result of Mr. Brennan’s visionary leadership, Manitoba Hydro became a significant exporter of renewable energy to the United States. In 1999 the firm purchased Centra Gas to become the primary supplier of natural gas to Manitobans. In 2002 the utility grew again with the purchase of Winnipeg Hydro. It has built two wind farms in southern Manitoba and ushered in Power Smart, a wide-ranging incentive program that encourages consumers to make energy-efficient choices. Under Mr. Brennan, Manitoba Hydro built more dams and utilized the engineering prowess of University of Manitoba faculty members to explore alternative energy resources and to design new power grids and production methods. Mr. Brennan’s leadership also helped Manitoba Hydro establish profit-sharing deals with northern Aboriginal communities.
Mr. Brennan is the former chairman, and long-time director, of the Canadian Electrical Association. He is a long-standing director of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. He has supported Riverview Health Centre for many years and is currently the Chairman of its Foundation. He is Director and Treasurer of Hospice and Palliative Care Manitoba, the director of the Winnipeg Vintage Locomotive Society and past co-chair of the YMCA/YWCA.
During Mr. Brennan’s tenure as CEO, Manitoba Hydro has consistently supported the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Manitoba. Mr. Brennan has also supported the Asper School of Business, especially its MBA program: every year since the mid-1990s Mr. Brennan has spoken to MBA students on leadership.
Mr. Brennan is recognized today for his ability to challenge old ways of thinking and for finding new paths that lead toward prosperity and a stronger community.