General Rick Hillier on Leadership
General Rick Hillier, former Chief of Defence Staff, Canadian Armed Forces, speaks to the Wood Automotive Group team about leadership. Military Museums, Calgary – November 2018
General Rick Hillier OC CMM ONL MSC CD (born 1955) is a former Chief of the Defence Staff of the Canadian Forces. He held this appointment from February 4, 2005, to July 1, 2008. He retired on July 1, 2008, and was replaced by former Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS) Walter Natynczyk. He is also the highest ranking Newfoundland and Labrador officer in history.
In 2011, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada “for his service to our nation, which has inspired pride in our Canadian Forces”. In December 2013, it was announced that Hillier would be appointed to the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador by Lt.-Gov. Frank Fagan during a ceremony in February 2014.
General Rick Hillier is also an acclaimed author, penning the award winning book: General Rick Hillier – A Soldier First (CBA Libris Award for Non-Fiction)
The number one-bestelling blockbuster about the life and career of Canada’s most controversial and popular military leaders
Finalist for the CBA Libris Award for Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year
In the summer of 2008, General Rick Hillier resigned his command as Chief of the Defence Staff of the Canadian Forces. You could almost hear the sigh of relief in Ottawa as Canada’s most popular, and most controversial, leader since the Second World War left a role in which he’d been as frank-speaking, as unpredictable, and as resolutely apolitical as any military leader this country has ever seen.
Born and raised in Newfoundland, Hillier joined the military as a young man and quickly climbed the ranks. He played a significant role in domestic challenges, such as the 1998 ice story that paralyzed much of eastern Ontario and Quebec, and he quickly became a player on the international scene, commanding an American corps in Texas and a multinational NATO task force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. But it was his role as General Rick Hillier, Canada’s Chief of the Defence Staff, that defined him as a Canadian public figure. In Afghanistan, Canada faced its first combat losses since the Korean War and every casualty suddenly became front-page news. A country formerly ambivalent or even angry about its role in the conflict suddenly became gripped by the drama playing out not only in the war zone of a country half-way around the world, but in the unfriendly conference rooms in the country’s capital as Hillier pulled no punches, demanding more funding and more troops and more appreciation for the women and men fighting a war on foreign soil.