Sir Herbert Samuel Holt

Sir Herbert Samuel Holt, capitalist (b at Geashill, King's County, Ire 12 Feb 1856; d at Montréal 28 Sept 1941). Holt immigrated to Canada in 1873 and worked as an engineer and contractor on railway construction projects, including the mountain section of the main line of the CPR. He became prominent in the Montréal business community following the merger of several utility companies into the Montreal Light, Heat and Power Co in 1902. Under Holt's direction, the company acquired a monopoly over the distribution of hydroelectric power in Montréal and a large share of the generation and transmission of power from various sites in Québec. He was briefly president of the Sovereign Bank of Canada and in 1908 was elected president of the ROYAL BANK OF CANADA, a position he held until 1934. During his presidency the Royal Bank absorbed a number of smaller banks and extended its operations to become the largest institution of its kind in Canada and the third largest in North America. In the late 1920s Holt, with J.H. GUNDY, was active in company mergers in the pulp and paper, textiles, utilities, coal and steel industries. He was created a KB in 1915.