Canadian Tire Corporation’s Chief Technology Officer, Eugene Roman, has been named the 2015 Private Sector CIO of the Year award, bestowed by the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), Canadian CIO magazine, and the Canadian CIO Association.
Roman came to Canadian Tire in 2012, just a year before the ancient retailer began carving out a counterintuitive reputation for itself as Canada’s most innovative retailer.
“A great CIO has a diverse network outside the organization, a future-facing and innovative grasp of the rapidly changing world of technology, and an ability to identify those new capabilities that are most relevant to the enterprise,” said ITAC Past Chair Ronan McGrath. “Eugene Roman has all of these attributes. He elevates the game.”
In March of 2013, Canadian Tire became the first retail presence at the Communitech Hub in Kitchener, later opening a Digital Garage nearby where Canadian Tire employees could develop in-store and digital technologies.
And in February 2014 Roman presided over the launch of Canadian Tire’s Cloud Nine Computing Centre, a $50 million, 28,000 square foot facility digital hub serving Canadian Tire’s 1,700 locations across Canada, with an App Factory, a gamification lab and a team of behavioural scientists.
“Canadian Tire has embarked on a mission to reinvent itself, to transform one of Canada’s iconic retailers into the most innovative retailer in the world. We are implementing world-class technology and we need to think big,” said Canadian Tire President and CEO Michael Medline. “Eugene is the key architect of this monumental shift and has completely reimagined what technology means to our business. He embodies the new world of retail in his leadership on innovation, brand and digital in a customer-centric manner. With Eugene at the helm of our technology team, we will continue to bring remarkable innovation to the market.”
Roman’s tenure has seen the development of digital retail solutions like “Canada’s Backyard and Patio Builder”, an interactive tool available in Canadian Tire’s South Edmonton Commons location, as well as the evolution of the retailer’s iconic money in the form of a new rewards program called “My Canadian Tire Money”, and the development of the mPay & Play app.
Eugene Roman dubbed his first three years working for Canadian Tire the LeapFrog phase, suggesting a transitional time during which the retailer would catch and surpass its competitors in the new retail landscape.
Now that the retail giant is ahead of the game, Roman’s closely guarded plans are likely to pay dividends for one of Canada’s most storied franchises.
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