Expanded markets caps meant expanded responsibilities for Canada’s tech execs in 2013. With the currency that is their share price inflated, many decided to make bold acquisitions, others to raise money at prices that were less dilutive than in the past.
Two great leaders, Descartes Systems Group CEO Art Mesher and Redline Communications CEO Eric Melka, stepped aside this year, but left their respective companies vastly healthier than when they arrived.
While many were sad to see the likes of Mesher and Melka exit stage left, the year was characterized by the reemergence of something we haven’t seen in some time: optimism.
Optimism has been in short supply in Canada’s tech sector for some time, but in 2013 we heard more of it from tech leaders then we have in a long while. The candidates for Cantech Letter’s 2013 TSX Tech Exec of the Year gave their employees and their shareholders a solid dose of sunshine over the past year and all three expect that they are closer to the beginning of their journey than the end. One will cap the year midway through January, with the award for Cantech Letter’s 2013 TSX Tech Exec in hand.
For the first time ever, the Cantech Letter Awards will be open to the public. A gala awards dinner, brought to you by Difference Capital and the TSX, will follow the First Annual Cantech Investment Conference, on January 16th, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Tickets to the Cantech Letter Awards, including a limited number of tables of ten, are still available. Click here, or contact Contact Karen Renaud at Cambridge House to reserve. ([email protected] or Direct at (604) 398-5356). For tickets to the Cantech Investment Conference, featuring keynote speaker Commander Chris Hadfield, click here.
On to the nominees for the 2013 Cantech Letter TSX Tech Exec of the Year. For these awards, we asked fourteen of Canada’s top technology analysts to give us their top three picks. The finalists are the companies that received the most points in this process (we gave three points for first place, two for second and one for third. In the event of a tie, the executive receiving the most first place votes was chosen.) The judges will vote on the consensus picks using the same scoring system.
We told our judges we were looking for the most outstanding candidate and asked them to use their own discretion to weigh factors such as revenue and earnings growth, share price appreciation and gains in market capitalization. Is the CEO of a company that gained 100% but moved from $0.15 to $0.30 a more worthy candidate than one that gained 75% but added billions in market cap? These are the decisions we left to their discretion as a professional.
After learning of the nominees, you can cast your vote at the bottom of this page. In the TSX and TSX Venture Technology awards voting, the readers of Cantech Letter will count as a single judge.
Here are the three finalists for the Cantech Letter TSX Tech Exec of the Year, listed in alphabetical order.
DAVID BAAZOV, CEO, AMAYA GAMING
David Baazov, the 2012 winner of Cantech Letter’s TSX Venture Exchange Tech Exec of the Year, moves up in weight class this year to take on all-comers on the big board. Baazov’s continued to add to his resume in 2013, integrating the $167-million acquisition of slot machine maker Cadillac Jack and placing Amaya at the forefront of gaming deregulation in the U.S.
ALEX FERNANDES, CEO, AVIGILON
Avigilon’s Alexander Fernandes has always been clear about his goals. With the Vancouver-based next-gen security concern, he let it be known early; he wanted to get the company to $500-million in revenue by the end of 2016. While this may have seemed an overly ambitious reach even a year ago, Fernandes made the stated desire seem more probable than possible late in November, when Avigilon’s Q3 crushed the street’s expectations.
LUCAS SKOCZKOWSI, CEO, REDKNEE
After the company’s stock had essentially flatlined for three years, Lucas Skoczowski decided to make a bold move. Late last year, Redknee made a surprise acquisition, picking up assets from Nokia Siemens Networks for $54-million. The street cheered the move, and concerns about Redknee’s ability to absorb the business largely faded in the face of huge gains in the company’s topline. The company’s Q4 Revenue of $57.4-million, was up a whopping 295% over the same period last year.