Prem Watsa is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, a financial services holding company which, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in property, casualty and life insurance, reinsurance, investment management and insurance claim management.
In 1985 Prem took control of Markel Financial which was controlled by the Virginia based Markel family. In 1987 he then re‐organized and renamed it Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited. He has served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since its inception. He is also Vice President of Hamblin Watsa Investment Counsel, Chairman of Odyssey Re and Chairman of the Board, Northbridge Financial Corporation, both being publicly listed subsidiaries of Fairfax.
Since 1985, Fairfax has compounded book value by over 25%. Fairfax has total assets of approximately US$28 billion, revenues in excess of US$7.4 billion and common shareholders’ equity of approximately US$4.6 billion. The company is listed on both the Toronto and New York Stock Exchange.
Prem Watsa’s professional career began in 1974 when he joined Confederation Life Insurance Company in Toronto; he went from being a Research Analyst to become a Vice President of Confederation Life’s Investment Counsel. He then joined GW Asset Management where he was a Vice President. He later opened his own asset management company, Hamblin Watsa Investment Counsel Ltd. (now fully owned by Fairfax).
He holds a Bachelors Degree in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, India and obtained his MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.
He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hospital for Sick Children, Director of ICICI Bank, member of the Advisory Board for the Richard Ivey School of Business, member of the Board of Directors of the Royal Ontario Museum Foundation and Chairman of the Investment Committee of St. Paul’s Anglican Church.