Shen, Tony

Tony Shen
EngSci 8T0                                        
Francis Shen
EngSci 8T1, AeroE MASc 8T3

Inducted (joint induction): 2011

Francis and Tony Shen are true leaders in the business world. They are builders of businesses and recognize the need to
constantly evolve. From aerospace and consumer telephony products, to enterprise communication systems, they credit a
large part of their success to the engineering education they received from U of T.

In 1983, Francis and a partner purchased a small aircraft consulting firm that ultimately became the Aastra Technologies
Limited known today. Tony Shen joined the company in the late 1980s after a successful nine-year career that covered everything
from product development to marketing at Owens Corning Fiberglas Corporation. Together they grew the business in the
aerospace and defense market.

Recognizing the decline of the defense market and rapidly growing telecom industry in the early 1990s, the brothers started
developing and marketing ring tone devices for fax machines, as well as caller ID units. By 1999, sales grew to nearly $100 million
and they became the largest provider of caller ID units in North America. The following year, the company was listed on the
Toronto Stock Exchange.

Their company continued to grow significantly in the 2000s, beginning with the acquisition of several Nortel divisions. By
2003, growth reached the European market with the acquisition of a Swiss-based enterprise communications company. This
began Aastra’s consolidation of the market with several other acquisitions of enterprise communication businesses in Germany
and France. In 2008, they purchased Ericsson Enterprise Communication Business, their largest acquisition. This move
firmly established the company — and the brothers — as a major player in their field, giving Aastra a global footprint in all
emerging economies in the world. The company now employs approximately 2,000 people, and generates more than $700
million in revenue a year.

In 2007 and 2008, the Financial Post named the brothers as one of the top 200 CEOs, while Francis was named Ontario’s
Entrepreneur of the Year in the Technology & Communications category by Ernst & Young Canada in 2000. Francis also served
on the Dean’s Advisory Board within the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering from 2003 to 2005.

Their honours, and their company’s honours, include:

  • Technology Fast 50, Deloitte, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2006
  • Entrepreneur of the Year, Technology & Communications category, Ernst & Young, 2000
  • Growth Strategy Leadership Award in the European Enterprise Communications Market, Frost and Sullivan, 2006
  • Top 200 CEOs, Financial Post, 2007 & 2008
  • Best Channel Vendor, VoIP category, Business Solutions, 2009