CPA Ontario

My CPA Team

Ellis Jacob, FCPA, FCA, FCMA – President & CEO, Cineplex Inc.

Every star needs a strong supporting cast. Though the spotlight shines brightly on Chartered Professional Accountant Ellis Jacob, President and CEO of Cineplex Inc., Jacob is quick to share the stage with his team of 20 CPAs. “People are our most important asset,” says Jacob. “When others say ‘you can’t do it,’ we make it happen.”

His story reads like the best of Bollywood. In 1969, at age 16, Jacob came to Canada from Calcutta and convinced his parents to let him stay. “The first time I saw snow,” says Jacob, “I ran out of the classroom to play in it.” He’s performed in many roles: a rising star throughout the ’90s at Cineplex Odeon; odd man out in a Loews corporate takeover; a star reborn as co-founder of Galaxy Entertainment; then back, with a vengeance, to direct Galaxy’s merger with Cineplex. No wonder his two favourite flicks are Slumdog Millionaire and The Shawshank Redemption.

Going to the movies? You’re likely going to a theatre run by Ellis Jacob. Cineplex is one of Canada’s largest entertainment companies, operating 163 theatres with 1,643 screens across Canada, serving 77 million customers annually. In 2013, it had its best year ever, with revenue of $1.2 billion and a market cap of $2.3 billion. But the movie biz depends on margins and buzz. The average Cineplex customer spends $5.05 on concessions, which account for 30 per cent of revenue; box office, buffeted by blockbusters, is a whopping 60 per cent. The rest, like the golden topping on your popcorn, comes from ancillary lines such as media, gaming, and one of the top loyalty programs in Canada, Scene.

In 2012, Jacob shaved off his trademark moustache and donned a toupee to go incognito for Undercover Boss Canada. He’s the kind of guy who takes the ice bucket challenge, loves the movies and lets his staff hold yoga sessions at lunchtime; a boss who herds his CPA team into a private screening room for a 9 a.m. shoot with D&A; a star who shares the spotlight. That’s all, folks.