Zachary Monteiro for The Logic
The Big Read

Telus’s move into health care could be a boost for its bottom line. But for CEO Darren Entwistle, it’s personal

Last year was a tough one for pretty much every Canadian business. As COVID-19 pushed Canada into a deep recession, the economy shrank by a wrenching five per cent. But it wasn’t a bloodbath for everybody. Take Darren Entwistle, for example. As CEO of Telus, Canada’s third-largest telecom company, his 2020 pay totalled $16.04 million, which represented a 24 per cent increase over the previous year. Telus “significantly outperformed our national peers,” the company boasted last April.

One of the reasons Entwistle found himself whistling to the bank was that few companies were as well prepared for the pandemic as Telus. Indeed, it’s almost as though Entwistle saw COVID coming: over the past decade, Telus has invested at least $3 billion in an impressive array of health-care technology platforms that now connect it—electronically, for the most part—to tens of thousands of Canadian doctors and pharmacists, and to tens of millions of their patients.

“For me,” Entwistle explained in an email interview with The Logic, “this commitment stems from personal experience: I lost my dad as a result of an avoidable error; when he was accidentally—and heartbreakingly—given penicillin to treat an infection, despite wearing a MedicAlert bracelet clearly warning of his severe allergy to the drug.”

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