Ian Thompson, ICD.D

Executive In-Residence
Phone: (902) 491-4129
Cell: (902) 219-1398
Fax: (902) 421-3130


Ian has been Cox & Palmer's Executive-in-Residence since April 2015. A senior business person accredited by Canada’s Institute of Corporate Directors with particular expertise in communication, public policy and board governance, Ian has been a Canadian business owner, a senior executive in a publicly traded energy utility, a senior newspaper executive and a senior bureaucrat. He has held leadership positions in not-for-profits locally, nationally and internationally. As a volunteer, he led the International Cystic Fibrosis Association, providing support to lay and medical communities in parts of Eastern Europe, the Middle East and South America. He has received many awards for his professional and philanthropic work.


For more than three years, ending December 31, 2014, Ian was Associate Publisher of The Chronicle Herald of Halifax, Canada’s oldest surviving family-owned daily newspaper. During that period, his principal achievement was the revitalization of the newspaper’s editorial content.

Ian was for three years deputy minister of the Nova Scotia Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. In this role, Ian was responsible for a department of 225 people and a budget of $125 million. Ian led the multi-departmental team that developed the province’s economic development strategy known as “Jobs Here.” He was intimately involved in mobilization of the external stakeholder group that, with government, developed the “Ships Start Here” program in support of the ultimately successful bid by Irving Shipyard for a major federal shipbuilding contract. He also led the process that resulted in creation of The Nova Scotia Tourism Agency, now a Nova Scotia Crown corporation.

From 2006 until 2009, Ian was Senior Representative for the Province of Nova Scotia in Ottawa. In that role Ian was responsible for helping to advance Nova Scotia’s priority issues with both the public service and the political arm of the Government of Canada. Key issues at the time included developing support for the Atlantic Gateway and for the negotiations that resulted in the federal government commitment to compensate Nova Scotia for its “Crown share” of offshore resources, an agreement worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Nova Scotia.

Prior to joining the Government of Nova Scotia, Ian was Vice-President External Relations at Emera Inc., a publicly-traded energy company. During his time at Emera, Ian was responsible for the region’s first ever “deliberative poll,” a process developed by Prof. James Fishkin, who headed the Centre for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University. The deliberative poll engaged 150 Nova Scotians in an exercise where participants were required to confront the various environmental and pricing trade-offs associated with different options for generating electricity in Nova Scotia.

Ian previously had experience with a publicly-traded energy utility while working with TransCanada PipeLines (1980-84) when he was manager of public affairs for Sable Gas Systems, a TCPL partnership with the Government of Nova Scotia. Ian also served as TCPL's public affairs representative on the multi-company project team for development of the Iroquois Gas Transmission System from Iroquois, Ontario to Long Island, New York.

For close to 20 years Ian owned and operated a business that became known as MT&L Public Affairs. Under Ian’s leadership, the firm won national and international honours, including the top award in a worldwide competition sponsored by the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) for the strategy Ian developed to support Canada's first production of oil from an offshore field. A review of the work subsequently appeared in International Public Relations, a book edited by Prof. Sam Black and published by the International Foundation for Public Relations Studies.




University of Toronto (Director's Education Program, 2006)
Dalhousie University (BA, 1970)

Professional Activities & Affiliations

Ian has served on the boards of Dalhousie University, Neptune Theatre, the IWK Health Centre, Innovacorp, Nova Scotia Business Inc., Trade Centre Ltd., The Halifax Herald Limited, the Charles E. Frosst Foundation for Health, and All Saints Cathedral.

Community and Volunteer Activities

  • Board Member, Cystic Fibrosis Canada (2014 - )
  • Board Member, Genome Atlantic (2015 - )
  • Tourism Nova Scotia (2015 - )
  • Past Chair, Halifax Chamber of Commerce
  • Past Chair, Atlantic Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO).
  • Past Board Member, SEEDS Foundation of Calgary and Research Canada, Ottawa.
  • Past Volunteer president of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • Past president of the International Cystic Fibrosis Association (ICFA)

Industry Recognition and Awards

  • Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General (1999, for volunteer work)
  • Honorary doctorate from Dalhousie University (2002)
  • College of Fellows, Canadian Public Relations Society (2002)
  • Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Top Volunteer Award (1987)
  • IWK Health Centre Top Volunteer Award (1996)
  • Halifax Grammar School Jubilee Alumni Service Award (2009). 
  • Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012)
  • Atlantic Journalism Award for best commentary any medium (2012)