Across the board the judges for the 2010 Cantech Letter Awards, and Cantech Letter readers, were impressed with Mark Thierer of SXC Health in 2010. Perhaps it’s because of the hands on nature required to flourish through acquisitions, SXC has made several of them en route to growing from $80 million in revenue in 2006 to more than $1.4 billion in 2009. Or maybe it was his ability to win new business; in late 2010, for example, SXC announced a three year, $720-million contract, with an undisclosed health plan. Cantech Letter contributing editor, and Cantech Letter Awards judge Kirk Exner explains why he chose Thierer as 2010 Canadian Technology Executive of the Year.
When does a public company’s success and an executive’s accomplishments diverge – or do they?
Executives are key members of a company’s management team and are typically headed by the Chief Executive Officer. CEOs hold specific executive powers by authority of the board and thus by the individual shareholders of the company. Executives of a public company have a plethora of decisions to make each year including developing and implementing an annual business plan, a financial plan; and, as a public company, a corporate plan including investor relations, public relations and reporting. If this isn’t enough to deal with, technology executives must also stay current with the “latest and greatest” and protect their organization from disruptive new technologies that are under development/commercialization.
So what factors should we attribute to selecting the Canadian Tech Executive of the Year?
First, how much value did the executive create in 2010. Second, how did their company perform year over year (three key factors: ROI for shareholders, liquidity and materiality). Third, as an executive what decisions were made on behalf of the shareholders to support the current and long term success of the public company.
For the reasons listed above, my choice for Canadian Tech Executive of the Year is Mark Thierer, President and CEO of SXC Health Solutions. Thus far in 2010 SXC’s shares have increased from $29 to $45. With 61.5 million shares outstanding this translates into almost $1 billion in new value created in the last 12 months – an absolutely staggering number in any context.
From a business perspective SXC did very well. ROI for shareholders is an impressive 55%. The public company’s shares have been very liquid with $837 million worth of stock trading hands as at October 31st, 2010 in 175,240 separate trades (as reported by TSX). And there have been a number of material changes this year. Revenue is up approximately 40% and gross profits are expected to reach $210 million for the year (a 12% increase over 2009). The company is winning new business and recently announced the $100 million strategic acquisition of MedfusionRx.
From a corporate point of view Mr. Thierer is making solid decisions. The recent acquisition demonstrates the CEO’s willingness to drive growth and we anticipate more to come based on the SXC’s public disclosure statements. In September the company underwent a 2-for-1 stock split which is always music to any investor’s ears. The Canadian press continues to blow SXC’s horn loudly – effectively affirming the achievements of the company’s CEO. The investment community is also squarely behind SXC and brokerage analysts continue to raise their price targets for the company. And perhaps most importantly, although SXC is a growth story the company increased profits in 2010 despite the challenging global economic conditions. In short, SXC is a well managed public Canadian technology success story and Mark Thierer deserves the accolades of Canadian Tech Executive of the Year.