Former Hexo VP of finance Clark joins Martello as firm looks to get back on growth track

Jim Clark
Jim Clark

Looking to rebound from an uncharacteristic cold streak, Martello Technologies is adding a seasoned finance executive with serious M&A chops to its C-suite.

The Kanata software firm announced Thursday that Jim Clark, who spent the past two years as vice-president of finance at Gatineau-based cannabis producer Hexo, will assume the role of chief financial officer effective Monday. 

Clark replaces Erin Crowe, who left Martello earlier this year to return to the Ottawa Senators as senior vice-president and chief financial officer. 

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Martello CEO John Proctor lauded Clark’s “financial and operational” prowess – expertise he hopes will come in handy as his firm looks to get leaner and more efficient while boosting its revenues.

“Jim has a strong track record of evaluating business segments from a profit and loss standpoint and will spearhead initiatives to help us move faster and drive increased shareholder value,” Proctor said in a news release.

Like Clark’s previous employer Hexo, which pulled the trigger on several headline-grabbing deals to snap up competitors during his tenure at the firm, Martello has enthusiastically embraced the philosophy of growing through acquisitions. 

Strong track record

The Kanata firm – which makes software that helps customers detect and repair problems in their high-speed communications networks – clearly hopes to lean on Clark’s experience in that department as it continues to explore further M&A opportunities of its own. 

In Thursday’s news release, Martello noted that Clark’s track record “includes leading complex business transformations, mergers and acquisitions and building high-performance teams.”

Clark, who earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Concordia University, is joining Martello at a time when the firm is trying to regain its mojo after stumbling a bit following a run of impressive growth earlier in the pandemic.

The company booked revenues of $4.46 million for the three-month period ending Dec. 31, down from $4.63 million a year earlier. Those results followed a quarter in which Martello’s revenues were flat compared with the previous fiscal year. 

Two flat quarters in a row amount to virtually uncharted waters for Martello, which was a regular fixture on OBJ’s list of Ottawa’s fastest-growing companies just a few years ago. Investors appear to have taken note – the firm’s stock was trading at just five and half cents on the TSX Venture Exchange Thursday afternoon, down from 20 cents a year ago.

Still, Clark – whose career as a senior finance executive spans more than 25 years and includes stints at IT consulting giant CGI and payment processing provider Symcor – says he likes where Martello is headed. 

The Kanata firm has high hopes for its recently released flagship product, Vantage DX. The software gives users of Microsoft products such as Excel, PowerPoint and Teams real-time intelligence into network roadblocks and bottlenecks that can slow down the applications and make them less efficient. 

Proctor told Techopia last month the new offering is gaining traction. Vantage DX’s pipeline of free trial subscribers doubled to more than one million users between January and mid-March, with 70 per cent of those test runs turning into paid subscriptions.

“Martello is poised to build market value in an exciting, rapidly growing new segment,” Clark said in a release. “With some very impressive partnerships already in place including world leaders Microsoft and Orange Business Services, now is a fantastic opportunity for Martello to take a dominant position in optimizing the modern workplace.”

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