John McCall MacBain

John McCall MacBain

Board Chair

Originally from Niagara Falls, Ontario, John McCall MacBain attended McGill University on scholarship to study Economics, graduating with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in 1980. During his time at McGill, he was deeply involved in student life, including serving as President of the Students Society. In his final year he was named Valedictorian. Mr. McCall MacBain subsequently obtained a law degree from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, followed by an MBA from Harvard Business School, before launching a successful entrepreneurial career as founder and controlling shareholder of Trader Classified Media.

Starting with his purchase of three small publications in Montréal, Canada in 1987 at 29 years old, Mr. McCall MacBain grew the Trader Classified Media, Auto Trader and Buy and Sell businesses worldwide with over 350 print titles and 50 internet sites in 23 countries, including France, Canada, China, Argentina, Russia, Hungary, Mexico, Italy and Spain. In the fall of 2006, he successfully sold Trader Classified Media. With the proceeds of the sale, Mr. McCall MacBain and his wife Dr. Marcy McCall MacBain established the McCall MacBain Foundation and its investment arm, Pamoja Capital SA. Through Pamoja Capital, Mr. McCall MacBain is now the largest investor in student housing management in Australia and New Zealand.

In addition to serving as Chair of the McCall MacBain Foundation, Mr. McCall MacBain has been active in many philanthropic and volunteer activities. He is a Trustee of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation in Cape Town, a Trustee Emeritus and Second Century Founder of the Rhodes Trust in Oxford, a Foundation Fellow of Wadham College Oxford, and the Founding Chair of the European Climate Foundation. He has continued to contribute his time to McGill, serving on the Principal’s International Advisory Board and Honorary Chair of Made by McGill: the Campaign for Our Third Century. In December 2020, he was appointed Chancellor of McGill University, beginning July 1, 2021.

For his achievements as a business leader and for his contributions to academic institutions as a philanthropist, Mr. McCall MacBain was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2016. He is also the recipient of several honorary degrees including an honorary doctorate from McGill.