General + Regulatory + Telecom + Media NewsCBC TV, TVO exec Peter Herrndorf has died

CBC TV, TVO exec Peter Herrndorf has died

Media executive and former National Arts Centre (NAC) President & CEO Peter Herrndorf passed away Saturday. He was 82.

Born in Amsterdam and raised in Winnipeg, Herrndorf started his career as a reporter at CBC Winnipeg in 1965 after graduating from Dalhousie University with a law degree. He joined CBC Edmonton as a current affairs producer later that year, moving to Toronto a few years later as producer of network current affairs show, The Way It Is. After obtaining his MBA at Harvard, he went on to serve as Head of TV Current Affairs from 1974-77, rising to the position of Vice President of English Services and Special Assistant to the VP and General Manager of CBC’s English network by 1979. Among other legacies, he is credited with helping found nightly current affairs magazine, The Journal, and later served a five-year term on the CBC board of directors, starting in 2005.

Former CBC News senior correspondent Peter Mansbridge was among those who paid tribute to Herrndorf on social media, saying he was “brilliant in all he touched.”

“He created. He inspired. He led. The CBC’s best days were with him at the helm,” wrote Mansbridge.

Herrndorf went on to become publisher of Toronto Life from 1983 to 1992 and then Chairman and CEO of TVO from 1992 to 1999, when he stepped down. Later that year, he was appointed President & CEO of the NAC in Ottawa where he served until 2018. Among other endeavours, he was instrumental in establishing the National Arts Centre Foundation, NAC Indigenous Theatre, and led the $225.4M NAC building renewal project.

Herrndorf’s other contributions to the arts included helping establish the Governor General Performing Arts Awards with entertainment industry executive Brian Robertson in 1992. He served as Chair of the Stratford Festival and at the time of his passing was Chair of the Luminato Festival. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993, and upgraded to Companion status in 2017. In 2007, he was awarded the Order of Ontario.

Flags at the NAC will fly at half-staff for the remainder of February, in tribute to Herrndorf.

“Peter Herrndorf had an enormous impact on the performing arts in Canada,” said NAC President & CEO Christopher Deacon. “He fundamentally believed that the National Arts Centre belongs to all Canadians, and that it must reach out beyond its home on Elgin Street to Canadian artists, arts organizations, and communities in every part of the country. For nearly 19 years, that belief informed his vision. He was also unfailingly kind and interested in each and every person – artists, staff and audience.”

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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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