The scion of one of the world’s major industrial dynasties, Edgar Kaiser Jr. was educated at Stanford University (BA) and Harvard (MBA). After serving in Vietnam with the US Agency for International Development, he became White House Fellow under President Lyndon Johnson. He spent a dozen years in various capacities, ultimately as chief executive officer with Kaiser Resources Ltd., which acquired some of British Columbia’s most important coal and energy reserves. Kaiser Resources later sold Ashland Oil to Dome Petroleum and coal operations to BC Resources Investment Corp — both at large profits.
Kaiser became a Canadian citizen on 17 February 1980. He subsequently made significant contributions, through his family foundations, to the research and prevention of drug abuse. Between 1984 and 1986, he was chairman of the Bank of British Columbia. The bank was absorbed by the Hongkong Bank of Canada (now HSBC Bank Canada) when the failure of two Alberta banks decimated the fiscal viability of regional banking. With his many international connections and personal commitment to social and economic reform, Kaiser was an influential figure in Canada’s development as a Pacific Rim nation.