Sir Alexander Mackenzie (Railway Magnate)
Sir Alexander Mackenzie, lawyer, businessman (b at Kincardine, Canada W 30 June 1860; d there 12 July 1943). Son of a Scottish farmer, Mackenzie left school at 17 and articled with a Toronto legal firm, being called to the bar in 1883. In 1899 Z.A. LASH, Canada's pre-eminent corporate lawyer, sent Mackenzie to oversee the legal arrangements of the São Paulo Tramway, Light and Power Co in Brazil. Fluent in Portuguese and conversant with the Brazilian legal and political systems, in 1904 he joined the Rio de Janeiro Tramway, Light and Power Co and served both companies as resident vice-president until their merger into Brazilian Traction in 1912 (BRASCAN). When F.S. Pearson, Brazilian Traction's founder, drowned on the Lusitania in 1915, Mackenzie assumed the presidency, and under his leadership Brazilian Traction became Canada's largest single overseas investment. He retired in 1928, remaining a company director. In 1919 he was knighted for his services in bringing Brazil into WWI.