CanWest founder Israel Asper retires as executive chairman

CanWest GlobalÔÇÖs founder and Executive Chairman Israel Asper Asper has stepped down from the position of executive chairman and will remain with the company as chairman of the board, effective immediately.

Asper founded CanWest Capital Corporation, the predecessor to CanWest Global Communications Corp., in 1977, with a vision of creating western Canada based conglomerate. Since then, Asper has guided CanWest from a small regional television broadcaster to a leading international multi-platform media company with operations in five countries.

Asper made the announcement at the Company’s Annual General Meeting of Shareholders held this week in Winnipeg. “It has been a rare privilege for me to play the role given to me in building CanWest for its first 25 years, and I express my gratitude to all our stakeholders for the kindness, patience, friendship and support I’ve received,” he said. ÔÇ£I intend to be an active chairman on a part-time basis, and will remain available to Canwest for special projects if and when our board feels I can be helpful. But the time not required for those duties will be devoted to the Asper Foundation, of which I am President and Chief Executive Officer, and, of course, to my duties as Chairman of the Canwest Global Foundation which, when present fiscal constraints are overcome, I expect to build into a major contributor to philanthropies connected to the aims and objectives of this company.”