Gordon Thiessen led Canada through seven of the most financially turbulent years in its history as governor of the Bank of Canada before retiring in January. Facing the lingering effects of the 1990-91 recession, high unemployment, the Mexican peso crisis, a dollar weakened by the Quebec referendum campaign and an economic crisis in Asia, Thiessen nevertheless succeeded in setting monetary policies that wrestled inflation to the ground and helped return the economy to robust health.
Believing Canadians should be better acquainted with the bank's business, he explained the complex workings of the world of finance to all manner of audiences — farmers, business associations and students alike. His reassuring and of moderate approach helped him achieve his goals and earn the praise and respect of economists.
Born in South Porcupine, Ontario and raised in Saskatchewan, Thiessen earned bachelor's and master's degrees in economy at the University of Saskatchewan, taught economics for a year and then joined the Bank of Canada in 1963. Two years later, he earned a doctorate at the London School of Economics. To improve his knowledge of international finance, he spent another two years at the Reserve Bank of Australia during the 1970s.
After serving the Bank of Canada for 30 years in several senior positions, Thiessen took over as governor in 1994.