On July 13, 1887 Sir John A. Macdonald (b.1815 - d.1891) was first elected President of the Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, on the occasion of the first meeting of the Board of Directors following the Company's incorporation on June 23rd.
Macdonald held the positions of President of Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and Prime Minister of Canada simultaneously until his death in 1891. Elected the first Prime Minister of Canada in 1867, he served two terms as Canada’s leader, 1867 to 1873 and 1878 to 1891.
Macdonald’s role at Manulife was more like that of a present day Chairman of the Board, serving as a figurehead for the company, with his reputation and prominence lending a certain amount of respect to the Company's name.
The name “Manufacturers” has its origins in the political platform of John A. Macdonald. His “National Policy” plan included the need for an expanded manufacturing base to broaden the market as the nation shifted from an agrarian-based economy to a more mixed economy. In the 1870s and 1880s, “manufacturers” stood for progress.
At the time of John A. Macdonald’s death in 1891, the Manufacturers Life Insurance Company wrote $2 million of new business, reached $7.4 million of Business in Force and its assets totalled $438,000 in its first four years of operation.
Next President: George Gooderham (1891-1901)