One of the country’s biggest retailers has a new chief technology officer.
Eugene Roman, formerly CTO at OpenText Corp., has moved to Canadian Tire, where he will help the a company that pulls in $10 billion-dollar in sales from auto parts to running shoes oversee its supply chain and technology.
Canadian Tire not only includes the well-known 487 automotive stores but also 26 PartSource auto parts outlets, Mark’s clothing stores, the Forzani Group of sports equipment stores (including Sport Chek) and a financial services division that has issued more than four million MasterCards.
(The paint department of a Canadian Tire store)
In total it has more than 1,700 retail and gasoline outlets acorss the country and employs about 68,000 people.
Roman joined the company early this month.
He had been with OpenText, a Waterloo, Ont.-based maker of enterprise content management solutions, since October, 2008, first as chief information officer and then, in 2010 as chief technology officer.
After graduating from from the Faculty of Management Studies at the University of Toronto in 1981 Roman went to work at what was then called Northern Telecom (later Nortel Networks). He later worked at Bell Canada Enterprises Inc. (BCE) where he was group president for Bell Systems & Technology, from 2005 to 2008.
From 2002 to 2005, he was Bell’s chief information and technology officer.
In a 2010 interview with CIO Canada
he recalled his early years when he got yelled at setting up a departmental LAN — Northern Telecom had a ban on bringing PCs into the workplace. That didn’t stop him. “In 29 years I never really broke a rule. I’d just bend a rule, in order to get work done.”
On the other hand, he believes in getting things done by making a solid business case. “I often see people say, “I’d like to take this project on,” he recalled, “and I’ll ask them if they’ve ever delivered anything like this before. They’ll say no, so I’ll ask who’s their coach or mentor. Then you get this reaction where, “I’m a smart person, I’m ambitious, I want to do this.” And I’ll say, “Hold on: jumping off a building on a project is not something I’m going to sign off on …
“… At Queen’s University I’ve taught a module on this to highly technical MBAs and the marketing of information means, how does an IT person present the business case? A good business case gets an idea sold. Most IT people are good at Java programming, .Net, but they’re not trained to do a business case. My MBA taught me a long time ago that you could either lie with the business case or get the job done.”