Prem Watsa

Prem Watsa

Prem Watsa is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited.

With a distinguished career spanning over four decades in investment management, Mr. Watsa has solidified his reputation as a visionary leader in the financial sector. Born in Secunderabad, India, he pursued his education at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras where he graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. Later, he earned an MBA from the University of Western Ontario. After starting his career at Confederation Life, Mr. Watsa ventured into entrepreneurship by co-founding Hamblin Watsa Investment Counsel Ltd. in 1984. The following year, he orchestrated the acquisition of a small Canadian insurance company, transforming it into Fairfax Financial, a holding company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange that has achieved remarkable and global success under his leadership. Through fair and friendly acquisitions, Fairfax has grown into a leading global commercial lines insurance and reinsurance group through a dual focus on underwriting profitability and total-return value investing.

Fairfax Financial continues to thrive, staying true to its founding principle of fair and friendly acquisitions based on the golden rule Mr. Watsa follows of “treating others as we would like to be treated ourselves.” Since its inception, Fairfax has been focused on the long-term view rather than short-term earnings to the benefit of all shareholders. 

Beyond his corporate endeavors, Mr. Watsa remains deeply engaged in philanthropy and community service. He serves on the boards of several prestigious institutions, including The Hospital for Sick Children and is the President of the Horatio Alger Association of Canada. In recognition of his contributions, he was appointed as the ninth chancellor of the University of Waterloo in 2009, named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2015, and awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India, in 2020.