Muriel Sprague Richardson

Known as ‘the shy baroness of brokerage’, Muriel was the fifth president of James Richardson & Sons, Ltd. Read more about her remarkable history in this Macleans article from 1957. 

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In 1939, Muriel Richardson succeeded James A. Richardson as President of JRSL. The first woman to head a large corporation, she set the standard for all who followed.

Within three months of Mrs. Richardson’s presidency, Canada was at war for the second time in 25 years. Under her administration, the Firm assured the job security of any personnel volunteering for military service and lent its expertise in a number of war efforts including operating pilot flight training schools, JR grain personnel were loaned to new government departments to assist in the distribution of agricultural commodities to the allied forces, JR financial services personnel were actively involved in the sale and marketing of War Victory Loan Bonds and JR personnel lead a national effort collecting clothes for families in need overseas.

When the war ended, Mrs. Richardson once again put the needs of her personnel first, instituting a pension plan years in advance of other Canadian companies. Later, she would also put a group insurance plan and other employee benefits into place.

Muriel Richardson may have been continuing the work her husband started, but she left her own mark on the business, particularly in the rapidly-growing Securities Division. Her respected leadership even led Maclean’s magazine to recognize her as “The Shy Baroness of Brokerage.” In 1981, she was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame – the first woman to ever receive the honour.