Mitel chief financial officer Steve Spooner to retire

CFO Spooner
Mitel's outgoing CFO Steve Spooner. File photo

One of Ottawa’s best-known finance men is calling it a career.

Mitel announced Wednesday that Steve Spooner, the Kanata tech firm’s chief financial officer for more than 15 years, is retiring. The Ottawa Business Journal and Ottawa Board of Trade named Spooner the inaugural CFO of the Year at the 2018 Best Ottawa Business Awards.

A native of Ottawa, Spooner was pivotal in Mitel’s growth over the past decade and a half, guiding the firm through multiple acquisitions and a $147-million initial public offering. CEO Rich McBee called Spooner the “modern CFO” for his understanding of both the minutiae of the business and the broad vision of the company’s future.

As the story goes, Mitel co-founder and longtime board member Terry Matthews had to call on Spooner twice to convince him to join the communications firm back in the early 2000s, but Spooner eventually couldn’t resist the call of his valued mentor and Wesley Clover chairman.

“Talent is the natural resource of the tech industry ​– the precious metal that drives business growth and success ​– and Steve Spooner has set the gold standard for best-in-class financial leadership and integrity in Ottawa, Canada and the world,” Matthews said when Spooner was awarded the CFO of the Year honours.

Taking the CFO reins from Spooner will be Vanessa Kanu, who until now served as Mitel’s senior vice-president of finance. The 2017 Forty Under 40 award recipient has already been with Mitel for 15 years and has served as an adviser to both Spooner and McBee in her current role.