By Varun Chinto
Prem Watsa was born in Hyderabad, India. He attended Hyderabad Public School and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras where he graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. Watsa later moved to London, Ontario and went to the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario where he earned an MBA. He is a distinguished alumnus of IIT Madras.
He played field hockey, ping-pong, tennis, and chess. As sports secretary, he led his school to its first sports triumph over the other IIT schools.
In 1972, with just eight dollars, he came to London, Ont. to live with his brother David and sister-in-law, and to study at the University of Western Ontario at what is now the Richard Ivey School of Business. To pay his way he sold stationery and gifts door to door.
After graduating, Watsa worked for the insurance company Confederation Life. In 1984, he started an investment firm with his former boss Tony Hamblin called Hamblin Watsa Investment Counsel. In 1985, Watsa took over Markel Financial and renamed it Fairfax Financial Holdings.
On September 23, 2013, BlackBerry announced that it had signed a letter of intent to be acquired by Fairfax Financial Holdingsin a $4.7 billion deal
In June 2009, he was appointed as the ninth chancellor of the University of Waterloo.