Rebecca MacDonald

Founder/Executive Chair, Just Energy Group

Topics: Business & Finance
Interview Date: March-06-2012
Extraordinary Insights: “If you are thinking of going into business, there are two things you have to do: you have to be in love of what you want to do, and then you have to be very focused, laser focused. If you don’t love what you do, you will not be successful; you will dread every moment of work. If you’re not laser focused, you will not achieve the heights that you will achieve when you are.”

Audio-only version:

Rebecca MacDonald is a founder and current Executive Chair of Just Energy Group, a Toronto based marketer of deregulated gas and electricity.  Just Energy currently supplies more than 3.5 million customers across Canada and the United States, having signed their first customer in 1997.  Ms. MacDonald has been involved in the sale of deregulated natural gas and electricity for the past 25 years. Just Energy has annual sales of $3.0 billion, EBITDA of $267 million and currently pays out more than $170 million annually to its shareholders.  Just Energy has recently expanded into two related businesses. Its JustGreen and JustClean products offer customers an opportunity to reduce or eliminate their carbon footprint. The company has quickly grown to be one of the largest retailers of green electricity in North America. Just Energy trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol JE. Ms. MacDonald immigrated in 1974 to Canada. In 1998 she founded Energy Marketing Inc., the first company which targeted small customers under Canadian natural gas deregulation. Following the sale of that business, in 1995 she founded a new company which aggregated customers within the UK natural gas deregulation which was again sold. She was a founder of Just Energy in 1997 with the intent of building a substantial company that could go public. Just Energy went public in 2001. In the ensuing years, Just Energy has been considered the most successful income trust in Canadian history. Its shareholders have seen a more than 400% capital appreciation plus they have received more than 400% return in cash distributions. Ms. MacDonald was named Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year for 2002 by the Rotman School of Business.  She was named Canada’s top woman CEO for 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 by Profit Magazine.  She was named Ontario Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young in 2003. Ms. MacDonald won the International Horatio Alger Award in 2009. She is Vice Chair of Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto and involved in several other charities.