Kinaxis boss John Sicard named Ottawa's 2020 CEO of the Year

John Sicard
Kinaxis boss John Sicard is Ottawa's 2020 CEO of the Year. Photo by Mark Holleron

In a year that saw toilet paper become a precious commodity while sales of cars and other big-ticket merchandise plummeted, Kinaxis boss John Sicard has often said his company’s supply-chain management software is more relevant than ever.

It seems only fitting, then, that Sicard is being honoured as the city’s 2020 CEO of the Year by OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade.

Sicard ​– who joined Kinaxis 26 years ago as a software engineer and held virtually every key management position in the company before being named chief executive in 2016 ​– is the 21st recipient of the award.

The Nova Scotia native is leading a company that’s quietly become one of the Canadian tech sector’s biggest success stories in his fifth year on the job. 

Earlier this month, Kinaxis was named one of the Toronto Stock Exchange’s top 30 performers of the past three years. The firm’s share price has roughly doubled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as customers scrambled to adjust to wildly fluctuating market forces that saw some products fly off store shelves while demand for other goods cratered.

'Remarkable' leadership

“The success of Kinaxis under John’s leadership is remarkable and an inspiration in our region,” Ottawa Board of Trade president and CEO Sueling Ching said in a statement on Friday. 

“John and his team have set a fine example of what can be done when you optimize opportunities, build a solid foundation and prioritize your people. On behalf of the Ottawa business community, it is our privilege to honour John as a top leader and express our gratitude for his dedication and hard work.”

The Kanata firm’s cutting-edge software helps corporate heavyweights such as Ford, Procter & Gamble, Toyota and Unilever keep track of their inventory as well as decide what materials to order and when.

Now at nearly 1,000 employees in 21 countries, Kinaxis is on pace to grow its headcount by 40 per cent this year as more and more customers realize the value of its software in a global economy that’s been upended by the coronavirus.  

“I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of the hundreds of dedicated and passionate individuals I have the pleasure of working with every day at Kinaxis,” Sicard said. 

“More than ever, supply chains are going through constant change, and we have the privilege to work with some of the leading manufacturers to help them become more agile in their planning so they can know sooner, act faster and remove waste. We are proud to call Ottawa home and be part of a tech community that is showcasing our city’s talent and innovation every day on the world stage.”  

The CEO of the Year award is part of the Best Ottawa Business Awards – better known as the BOBs – which are presented annually at a fall gala.  

This year, Sicard and other notable local business leaders will receive their awards at an intimate gathering at the Westin Ottawa TwentyTwo on Friday, Nov. 20. The full slate of awards will be highlighted during an online and television broadcast on Wednesday, Nov. 25.