Born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Mr. Paul Johnson was educated at Mount Allison Academy and Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. In 1949, he entered the family business, Johnson Insurance Offices Limited. In 1953, he became Managing Director, and in 1955, President and Chief Executive Officer, buying all company shares.
Under his leadership, by 1995 the Johnson-Unifund Group operated in every province in Canada. He and his Leadership Team pioneered 67 innovations in the insurance industry and, through their vision, determination, and entrepreneurial spirit, led the company to become a leader in the Canadian insurance industry. By 2007, the Companies in the Corporate Group had achieved both annual billings and group assets of over one billion dollars each. In 1997, Mr. Johnson sold his shares of Johnson Insurance, while ensuring its continued independence and autonomy, with head-quarters to remain in Newfoundland.
During his business career, he served as Chairman of the St. John’s Heritage Foundation; the St. John’s Housing Authority; and the Newfoundland Salvation Army Advisory Board. He was a Director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Development Corporation and has played a leading role in organizing financial campaigns for various institutions and organizations.
Quietly, and without fanfare, he has devoted his retirement, and proceeds from his business, to preserve and promote the history and culture of Newfoundland. In 1987, he had established the Johnson Family Foundation. The Foundation, sometimes with partner support, has since initiated over $ 50,000,000 in 20 projects which highlight important historic and heritage aspects of Newfoundland.
In 1993, Mr. Johnson received the Order of Canada and the following year he was presented with the degree of Doctor of Laws from Memorial University. In 1997, he was awarded the Freedom of the City from the City of St. John’s and in 2004 was one of the first recipients of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador.