O’Leary is out. Meet the new cast members of Dragons’ Den

O’Leary and Croxon say goodbye



This story originally appeared on ProfitGuide.com

The next season of CBC’s wildly popular Dragons’ Den will not feature the founder of Lavalife or the self-proclaimed “Mr. Wonderful.” Instead, it will boast a Bay Street bad boy and an acclaimed Vancouver restauranteur.

On March 14, CBC announced that both Kevin O’Leary and Bruce Croxon would not return as on-screen financiers for the ninth season of the show. Replacing them will be Michael Wekerle, the controversial merchant banker and Vikram Vij, the proprietor and chef behind several extremely popular west coast restaurants.

Wekerle started trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange at the age of 18, and his many early successes include early investment in Research in Motion (now BlackBerry). Described on CBC’s website as “Mick Jagger meets Warren Buffet,” he’s garnered headlines as much for his allegedly outlandish behaviour and lavish lifestyle as his investing acumen. He is currently the CEO of merchant banking firm Difference Capital (whose investments include Virgin Gaming, BuildDirect and 2013 PROFIT 500 winners Vision Critical and GuestLogix)

Vij emigrated to Canada in 1989, and five years later opened Vij’s, which has become a favourite restaurant of such influential  connoisseurs as Martha Stewart and Mark Bittman. He has since published cookbooks, released a line of prepackaged curries sold in grocery stores across the country, and appeared as a celebrity chef on several Food Network and CBC programs—enough to earn him the 2011 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

O’Leary, who built his fortune in educational software, had been on Dragons’ Den since the show’s debut in Canada. The bestselling author, (whose attitude towards entrepreneurship is that “business is war“), will continue to makes regular TV appearances on CBC’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange and ABC’s Shark Tank.

Croxon (who recently told PROFIT “you see these very successful entrepreneurs, and they’re crazy“) founded online dating giant Lavalife before starting venture-capital firm Round 13. He joined the cast of Dragons’ Den in 2011.

This is not the first time the titular Dragons on the show have changed. Of the five investors who cast at the show’s debut, only Jim Treliving remains. Over the years, Dragons Jennifer Wood, W. Brett Wilson and Robert Herjavec have left the show. One original Dragon, La Senza founder Lawrence Lewin, passed away after season two.

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8 comments on “O’Leary is out. Meet the new cast members of Dragons’ Den

  1. When will the other Dragons have the moral courage to reprimand Kevin for his sub-human and constant disparaging remarks to mostly honest small business people?
    Kevin is the ideal bully from the old boys college.
    He typifies exactly what most business schools, including Harvard, are trying to exclude from their curriculum today: that is: profit at all costs.
    Kevin should realise that it is no longer business as usual. Yes, profit remains the motive, but not by any means, not at all cost, especially human costs.
    Hello, Kevin! Where have you been?
    I suppose you would endorse and celebrate all the major players in the last world financial melt-down, including and especially those who have been found guilty of massive fraud, such as Madoff.
    I guess you would definitely support all those financial institutions which have been charged with gross misconduct and impropriety in the mortgage industry, all in the pursuit of profit, despite the enormous global pain and suffering t they have imposed on individuals all over the world.
    Yes, kevin, your type of narrow, inhuman attitude in business is over.
    Change your style and your obsession with insulting people or the other dragons will be ostracize you and you will be made obsolete.
    Remember, nothing is forever, not even your wealth.

  2. Wekerle is a hasbeen – just look at the shares of DCF on the TSX and see how successful he has NOT been. cbC must have been desperate to cast this fool

  3. Your replacements should have more Internet savy and money interests to make them interesting, A chef is not that interesting on an investment show . Get Arlene back in her red coat. She looks great in it.wv

    • Kevin made the show interesting

  4. New season is a snooze-fest! They don’t need another O’Leary per se, but someone with a little zing.

  5. Have watched the show from the beginning. Miss the Dragons that have left but til now replacements have been good . BUT where did you find the obnoxious one with the circus jacket .Have just finished watching the show with the Maple water offer ,All dragons liked taste and offer, and made offers ,but Wekerle was absolutely ridiculous.. Have almost decided to pass on the Den.

  6. dragons den now sucks and i predict its demise soon.