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About us

The David & Sharon Johnston Centre for Corporate Governance Innovation is the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management’s home for research and resources about boards of directors and corporate governance. The Johnston Centre’s purpose is to support academic research and teaching, generate practical tools & insights and host events that improve the effectiveness of boards of directors. We focus on under-served sectors such as family enterprise, both public and private, co-operatives, crown corporations and dual-class public issuers.

David & Sharon Johnston

The Centre is named in honour of the remarkable contributions to Canadian life, society and business of David and Sharon Johnston.

In a lengthy career in the university sector, The Right Honourable David Johnston served as principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University and president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo. He also held teaching and leadership roles at Queen’s University, University of Toronto, and Western University. During his career, he served on the boards of a number of public companies as well as on boards of not-for-profit organizations and universities. He was the first non-U.S. citizen to be elected president of Harvard’s board of overseers. He is the author or co-author of 3 dozen books. In 2010, he was named as Canada’s 28th Governor General, a position he held until 2017. Together with Sharon Johnston, he focused his mandate on strengthening the pillars of learning and innovation, philanthropy and volunteerism and families and children.

Sharon Johnston holds a doctorate in rehabilitation medicine from McGill University and practised as a physio occupational therapist. Her first internship was in a children’s psychiatric ward and she has championed mental health throughout her career. While at Rideau Hall, she travelled across the country and abroad to advocate for mental health and eliminated stigma and helped families. She is an Honorary Capt(N) in the regiment whose focus is military families and mental health throughout the armed forces. She is a novelist whose second book of a trilogy is currently in press.

The Johnstons have 5 daughters and 14 grandchildren.

Meet the Team

Professor David R. Beatty C.M., O.B.E., MA, F.ICD, CFA

Director of the David and Sharon Johnston Centre for Corporate Governance Innovation and Professor of Strategic Management

David has served on 39 Boards of Directors of publicly traded companies in Canada, the USA, Australia the United Kingdom and Mexico. He has been Chairman of 9 publicly traded companies.

He is the Founder of the Directors Education Program, a joint venture between the Rotman School and the Institute of Corporate Directors. The 12 day course is delivered across Canada in partnership with 10 other Universities and has trained over 6,000 senior Canadians.

For his work in Corporate Governance he was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2014.

In 2018 the International Corporate Governance Network, representing 80 asset managers and pension funds from 15 nations with a total of $35 trillion of assets under management, awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award.

He was the founding Managing Director of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance (2003-2008), an organization that now represents 50 Canadian institutional investors with ~C$3 trillion of assets under management.

At the Rotman School he teaches corporate strategy and corporate governance.

Matt Fullbrook



Matt Fullbrook is a board effectiveness researcher and consultant, and is the manager of the David & Sharon Johnston Centre for Corporate Governance Innovation at the Rotman School of Management. Between 2004 and 2019, Matt was the Manager of the Clarkson Centre for Board Effectiveness (CCBE). Under his direction, the CCBE has evolved into the central hub of governance research in Canada. Matt has overseen the development and execution of all of the Centre’s projects, including the Globe & Mail's Board Games governance ratings, various Pay/Performance studies, credit union board research, and an ongoing study of the governance of family firms. As an independent consultant, Matt has advised dozens of boards of directors as an educator, facilitator and researcher, helping them to maximize their effectiveness through the development and implementation of valuable governance processes, policies and structures.

Tony Spizzirri
Senior Research Officer



Tony Spizzirri has been studying board effectiveness and corporate governance for 9 years. He is the Senior Research Officer at the David & Sharon Johnston Centre for Corporate Governance Innovation at the Rotman School of Management. Between 2010 and 2019, he was the Lead Researcher at the Clarkson Centre for Board Effectiveness (CCBE). Tony has been instrumental in the development and oversight of corporate governance research projects, including the Globe & Mail’s Board Games governance rankings, CEO compensation studies, Credit Union board research and studies on Family Enterprise governance.

Manini Sheker
Research Officer



Manini Sheker is a Research Officer at the David and Sharon Johnston Centre for Corporate Governance Innovation. She has worked as a research analyst and writer for the Aga Khan Foundation, FHI 360 and Cuso International in Canada, East Africa and Asia. She has a Masters of Social Work from the University of Toronto and an MPhil in International Development from the University of Oxford. Her writing has been featured in the Walrus, the Guardian, the Independent and Aeon magazine among other publications.

Eva Athanasiu
Research Officer



Eva is a Research Officer at the David and Sharon Johnston Centre for Corporate Governance Innovation. Prior to joining the Centre, she was a Librarian at Toronto Public Library, and worked in Collections Information, Rights and Reproductions at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Eva holds a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto.

Dr. Andrew Szonyi

Dr. Andrew Szonyi’s career has spanned business finance, corporate governance, entrepreneurship, innovation, small business management, business planning, and operations management.

As a professional Corporate Director he has over 80 cumulative years of public company directorships and 170 cumulative years as a director. He has owned and operated several businesses across both the manufacturing and service industries. As a member of the Science Council of Canada (member of the Executive Committee) he contributed to shaping of the Canadian Government’s Science and Technology Policies. Andrew was also previously a Professor at the University of Toronto, cross appointed to the Faculties of Engineering and Management Studies and was Adjunct and Visiting Professor at Universities in several countries.

Andrew is a licensed P.Eng. and holds a M.A.Sc. and PhD in Chemical Engineering, an MBA and a GPLLM in International Business from the University of Toronto and is currently Advisor, Corporate Strategy & Governance of Alice Insights, a startup company which developed  a Global Climate Intelligence Platform for risk analysis due to climate change. He is currently an active independent  director of several publicly trading companies in Canada and overseas.