4. Bob Rennie
Founder & Director, Rennie Marketing Systems
November 17, 2015
Age: 59 | 2014: #8
Information is power, and nobody in this city gets better information, sooner, about buzzier things, from a more diverse network—and nobody uses that information more deliberately, or to greater effect—than the obsessively driven, seemingly ubiquitous Energizer Bunny that is Bob Rennie.
He meets more players for coffee, and has a busier BlackBerry, than someone of lesser energy might think possible. Christy Clark has publicly acknowledged the crucial role he played in her 2013 electoral victory and his effective fundraising has made the provincial Liberals debt-free for the first time in memory. At the municipal level, his support of Gregor Robertson and the Vision team has been similarly vital.
Meanwhile, relying on data from his own pollsters, he helps developers figure out what to build where and how to market their projects; then his real estate agents sell the finished units—to the tune last year of some $1.5 billion. That’s why, in May, his annual presentation to the Urban Development Institute (he argued for greater density and blamed local speculation, not foreign investment, for our stratospheric real-estate prices) drew a standing ovation—and, of course, accusations of self-interest.
Behind the scenes, he works diligently to address homelessness and the need for subsidized shelter. But his real passion is the collection of contemporary art he has assembled, one of the finest in the world. (Only a tiny portion is shown at his museum—the old Wing Sang building on Pender Street in Chinatown, which he transformed into a tasteful architectural gem.) His stature in the art world is clear: he’s about to step down as head of the North American acquisitions committee at the Tate Modern in London and accept a seat on the board of the Art Institute of Chicago.
His stature in Vancouver is summed up by a City Hall insider, who explained, “Generally speaking, if Rennie’s behind something, it gets done.”
To see who else made 2015’s Power 50, click here >>