Francis Shen is the President of Shen Capital Corporation, a private investment company. Mr. Shen was the founder, Chairman, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Aastra Technologies Ltd, a TSX listed company, which was sold to Mitel Networks Corporation in 2014 in a transaction that returned over $500 million to its shareholders. In addition, in prior years, Aastra returned over $200 million in dividends and stock buybacks.
Mr. Shen founded Aastra in 1983 and initially focused the company on Research & Development projects in the aerospace and defence industries. In the mid 1990s, Mr. Shen redirected Aastra to focus on developing products for the rapidly growing telecommunications market. With new product innovation and successful acquisitions, the company grew substantially and by 2010, Aastra was one of the top global players in the enterprise communications market with revenue reaching over $800 million. It had over 2,000 employees of which 500 were in research and development. The business had an international reach with offices in over 30 countries and provided products and services to over 100 countries around the world.
In 2000, Mr. Shen was named Ontario’s Entrepreneur of The Year in the Technology & Communications category by Ernst & Young. He holds a Master of Applied Science (Aerospace Engineering) and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Engineering Science) both from the University of Toronto. Mr. Shen is a board member of the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation, the Toronto International Film Festival, the ROM Board of Governors and a founding board member of NEXT Canada. At the University of Toronto, he is the co-chair of the Entrepreneurship Leadership Council, and the founder and sponsor of Start@UTIAS, a technology incubator.