Born in London, Ontario, Andrew Brandt moved to Sarnia in the 1960s where he established a successful company importing and selling musical instruments. From a single retail operation, Mr. Brandt expanded the company over a 10-year period into a network of 70 retail outlets throughout Ontario before eventually selling a majority of his interests to a national retailer of musical instruments based in Winnipeg.
In 1971, he entered politics and embarked on a long and distinguished career in public service, serving on Sarnia City Council for almost a decade, including three terms as mayor. In 1981, he was elected as MPP for Sarnia and served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour. He was appointed Minister of the Environment in 1983 and Minister of Industry and Trade in 1985. He also served as Leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party from 1987-1990.
Mr. Brandt was first appointed Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) in February 1991. In 2003 he was re-appointed to an unprecedented fifth three-year term.
Under Mr. Brandt’s leadership, the LCBO increased its annual sales by $1.7 billion (94 per cent) and achieved 10 straight record dividends (totalling almost $9 billion) to the Ontario government, including a $1.115 billion dividend (excluding taxes) in fiscal 2004-2005. In fiscal 2005-06, his last year as Chair and CEO, LCBO sales topped $3.6 billion and the dividend reached $1.2 billion.
Throughout his tenure, the LCBO regularly outperformed most other Canadian liquor boards and major retailers. The LCBO also achieved its highest customer satisfaction ratings ever and the LCBO’s retail network evolved from uninviting, institutional-looking outlets to modern, innovative one-stop shopping centres.
During the Brandt years, the LCBO received more than 200 awards, including the Canadian Marketing Association’s Director’s Choice Award, the Retail Council of Canada’s Retail Marketing Award, Innovative Retailer of the Year and Socially Responsible Retailer of the Year and Outstanding Business Achievement Award from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Brandt was a finalist in 2001 for Marketer of the Year, presented by the Toronto Chapter of the American Marketing Association. He was also awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003.