Michael McCain


Michael McCain is a Canadian businessman and the President and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, one of the largest food processing companies in Canada. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the C.D. Howe Institute.

Early life

Michael Harrison McCain, born on November 13, 1958, in Florenceville-Bristol, New Brunswick, is the son of Wallace McCain, co-founder of McCain Foods, and Margaret McCain, and a Canadian philanthropist.

He completed his undergraduate studies at Mount Allison University and Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. In 2014, he received an honorary doctorate from Carleton University for his contributions in the field of economic development.

McCain was married to Christine McCain in 1981 and a divorce was filed on January 13, 2013. He has five children. Not a lot of his personal and private life is available to the public.


After completing his education, McCain began his career. In 1979, Michael Harrison McCain joined the sales department of McCain Foods and advanced to management positions. By 1986, he became the president of McCain Citrus Inc. and in 1990, he was appointed president and CEO of McCain Foods USA Inc. In the 1990s, a legal dispute between co-founders and brothers Wallace and Harrison McCain over the leadership of the company resulted in Wallace and Michael leaving McCain Foods.

McCain joined Maple Leaf Foods as president and chief operating officer in April 1995, where he has held several leadership positions over the past three decades. He was appointed President and CEO of the company, a position he continues to hold today.

Maple Leaf Foods comes from Maple Leaf Mills, formed in 1961 by combining Maple Leaf Milling Company Limited, Toronto Elevators Limited and Purity Flour Mills Limited. The company has a history dating back to 1836, when Grantham Mills was established in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Under McCain’s leadership, Maple Leaf Foods has undergone significant growth and expansion, becoming one of the largest food processing companies in Canada. The company is known for its high-quality products and commitment to sustainability and animal welfare.

As CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, Michael Harrison McCain received praise for his handling of the 2008 listeria outbreak. The Globe and Mail referred to him as a “role model for crisis management” for his efforts to address the incident. Deborah de Lange, writing in The Conversation, commended McCain’s transparency, ethics, and communication skills during the outbreak, referring to his “track record of leadership”, and Hill+Knowlton Strategies’s Jane Shapiro referred to it as “a textbook case of how to handle a crisis”.

With a passion for creating positive change, Michael McCain has spent his career leading from the front and transforming how food is made and distributed. His values-based approach to business continues to revolutionize the industry.

McCain was named the Business Newsmaker of 2008 by the Canadian press. In a 2013 case study in the Financial Times, business theorist Morgen Witzel noted that in addition to accepting responsibility, McCain’s recovery strategy included a hiring freeze but open hiring in the food safety department, which was to hire at any cost.

To date Maple Leaf is the first major food company to be carbon neutral, targeting a 50% reduction in waste by 2025, and their end game is to become the most sustainable protein company on Planet Earth.

In addition to his role at Maple Leaf Foods, McCain is also actively involved in the Canadian business community. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, an organization that brings together the CEOs of Canada’s largest companies, and the C.D. Howe Institute, a leading Canadian think tank.

He has contributed a great deal to philanthropic work as well. In 2019, he gave a gift of $10 million that enabled the University of Toronto and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre to launch the McCain Centre for Urological Innovation and Education. The generosity of Michael McCain will help researchers at U of T and Princess Margaret harness the latest scientific and technological advances in the field of urology, educate the next generation of urological surgeon scientists, and expand an already world-class tissue biobank to significantly improve patient care.

Net Worth

Michael McCain is one of the wealthiest people in Canada and is currently listed on Canadian Business Magazine’s 100 Richest Canadians. His net worth is estimated to be around $1.1 billion.


Michael McCain has been widely recognized for his leadership and contributions to the Canadian business community. He is a recipient of the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honors, and has also been named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, an annual list of the country’s most successful young leaders.

In 2020, he was named one of the world’s top CEOs by Barron’s and was listed among the top 100 most powerful people in Canada by the Canadian Business magazine. Under his leadership, Maple Leaf Foods has been recognized as one of the most Sustainable and Responsible companies in Canada.

Business Newsmaker of 2008 by the Canadian press