Calgary Stampede CEO Warren Connell dies


Calgary Stampede CEO Warren Connell has died after nearly 40 years with the organization.

The Stampede informed employees and volunteers of the loss in a Monday email.

“Warren will be remembered as a visionary leader and ardent community builder. His recognition of the community will be a legacy that lives on for generations to come,” the statement said.

“Warren was beloved by the Stampede family and will be very sadly missed.”

The search for a new CEO is already underway as Connell had announced his intention to retire earlier this month. At the time, he said he’d be taking a partial leave of absence for medical reasons.

For now, Stampede board chair Dana Peers will be responsible for supervising and directing the Stampede’s executive management team.

Connell started working at the Calgary Stampede in 1984 and eventually became head of operations. In 1995, he was the Stampede’s liaison for the World’s Fair bid. He took the reins as CEO in 2015.

Stampede communications manager Kristina Barnes said the organization plans to recognize Connell and his contributions to Calgary in the new year.

Coun. Ward Sutherland, who sits on the Stampede board, said Connell’s passing is a profound loss for the city.

“It’s just heartbreaking,” he said, noting he worked closely with Connell on discussions about the $500-million BMO Centre expansion on the Stampede grounds.