Michiel Leenders

Obituary of Michiel Rudolf Leenders

In his 88th year, Mike passed away after a brief illness surrounded by his loving family.

Born third of seven children in Heemstede, the Netherlands, he emigrated to Edmonton with his family in 1951. He completed a degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Alberta in 1956 and an MBA at Western University in 1958.  Already on faculty at the Business School since 1959, he obtained on leave of absence a DBA from Harvard Business School in 1962. In 1993 he became the first holder of the PMAC endowed chair in purchasing management until his retirement in 2002. He was also the founding director of the Ivey Purchasing Managers Index from 1998 until 2015 as Professor Emeritus after his official retirement.

A prolific academic, he authored and co-authored ten books in supply management that were translated into nine languages. He was honoured with the top American and international awards for his contribution to supply management. As administrator, he was the director of the School’s Ph.D. program for several years and chair of the Operations Management Group for 24 years. But above all professorial roles, Mike’s great love was teaching, and he received much joy and appreciation from it. He taught and consulted extensively both in Canada and internationally. In 1997, Mike received the Leaders in Management Education Award sponsored by the Financial Post and Bell Canada. Perhaps it was as a charismatic, impactful, generous teacher that Mike’s legacy will be most boldly imprinted.  

Mike was the main author of three case method books and taught case learning, writing, and teaching workshops to over 15,000 participants in more the 40 countries. The fourth edition of Teaching with Cases was completed just this year.

Mike was a founding director of the ING Bank of Canada from 1997 until its sale in 2013. An active entrepreneur, he founded six small companies.

He leaves behind four adoring children: Erica (Alex Szabo), Marc (Nadine Harris) from his first wife Carol Leenders; Thomas (Andolina Cai Chen) and Nicholas (Nicole Fricot) from his loving wife of 47 years, Louise A. Mauffette-Leenders; seven grand children: Michiel, Noa, Raiya, Amelia, Kai, Jacob, and Espen; plus numerous cousins with whom he kept in close contact in the Netherlands.

Mike’s utmost life passion was bridge (the rubber kind) and in retirement he organized a group of seniors to play as often as possible. Another great passion was fishing at the family cottage in the Laurentians.

Following a Dutch tradition, Mike wrote poems for every special occasion including the birthdays of all his children and grandchildren; and riddles to accompany each Christmas present, making their opening a day-long affair. His family and friends will miss his home-made bread, crepes and New Year’s Dutch oliebollen and appelflappen.

In keeping with his wishes, cremation has been arranged. A celebration of his life will take place at a later date. To honour his memory, donations can be made to the Health and Homeless Fund for Change, administered by the London Community Foundation, at fundforchange.ca

Condolences, memories and photographs can be shared at www.woodlandcemetery.ca

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