Rebecca McDonald: What you don’t know

What you don’t know about Rebecca MacDonald
Here is a short profile and bio:

  • One of the richest women in Canada
  • Executive Chair of Just Energy Income Fund (TSX: JE.UN now JE.TO) formerly Energy Savings Income Fund, read more about Just Energy
  • Born in Yugoslavia, 1953
  • Her Yugoslavia name was Ubavka Mitic

In 1974, at 22 years old she migrated on her own to Toronto, Canada. In 1979, she married Pearson MacDonald and changed her name to Rebecca MacDonald. Pearson MacDonald had a water filtration business and sell his products door-to-door.

“He taught me the most important lesson – it’s all about sales,” said Rebecca MacDonald. “You could have the best idea but if you don’t sell it, you’ll never get ahead.”

Pearson also revealed the art of door-to-door sales. “It’s the most difficult form of selling, but the most cost-effective,” MacDonald says.

While Rebecca MacDonald learned the art of the door-to-door sale from her husband, there was a new opportunity business opening up in the natural gas industry. In North America, the natural gas industry had been long regulated, but the price control had its drawback when the shortage of natural gas in the mid-1970’s. That resulted in the deregulation across North America on the idea that the free market would do a better job of managing the supply of natural gas than the regulated method and help increase competitions.

That new opportunity lead Rebecca MacDonald to launched Energy Marketing Inc. in 1989.

In 1997, her company became Energy Savings Income Fund and in 2001, Energy Savings Income Fund became public. After the acquisition of US Energy Savings Income Fund (SIF.UN), Energy Savings Income Fund changes its name to Just Energy Income Fund (JE.UN).

In 2009, Just Energy Income Fund (JE.UN) acquired Universal Energy Group Ltd. This acquisition leads to the creation of Just Energy Exchange Corp. (JEX-T) and owned by Just Energy Income Fund (JE.UN-T).

In 2010, Rebecca MacDonald and Just Energy Income Fund (JE.UN) are worth about 2 billion dollars.

With all of her success comes with many controversies, lawsuits, and complaints. In the business world, most investors only look at the value of stock and the bottom line but take no notice on lawsuits or other charges. The door-to-door tactics created many controversy while some of these door-to-door sale structure seem to be “purposely deceiving consumers”, according to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Door-to-door natural gas is arguably unethically, the price is high enough for the customers to only save money for a brief period. Also, high-pressure sales on gullible people that sign these contracts, some were seniors, non-English speaking people.

In 2008, the Illinois Attorney General accused her company US Energy Savings for allegation of “Misleading Sales Tactics” and allegation of misleading marketing.