Robert Watson has stepped down from his position as President and CEO of the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) to pursue other opportunities, according to a memo from the organization’s chair.
“Robert Watson has decided to step down from his position as President and CEO of ITAC, in order to pursue other opportunities,” writes Kevin Peesker, ITAC’s chair and also the President of Microsoft Canada. “Given that Robert was nearing the end of his three-year appointment, this was not entirely unanticipated.”
Watson was appointed as ITAC CEO on April 18, 2016. The former SaskTel CEO succeeded Karna Gupta, who had been in the position since 2011.
Peesker credits Watson with expanding ITAC’s membership and strengthening member engagement.
ITAC’s public policy focus steered towards three main areas under Watson’s direction – cyber security, the Internet of Things, and cloud computing. Those initatives were supported with new events like the ITAC Cyber Security Forum and Internet of Things Forum, industry reports and white papers, and involvement in government consultations.
Under Watson, ITAC also pushed the federal government to modernize its procurement process so that small and medium-sized businesses could be considered. In December 2017, the government announced a $100 million procurement program, Innovative Solutions Canada, to help give Canadian firms an opportunity to fulfill government contracts.
Tonight, ITAC hosts the Ingenious Awards and CanadianCIO of the Year Awards, a program on which IT World Canada is a partner.
ITAC bills itself as “the voice of the ICT community in Canada” and its membership is composed of IT vendors, telecommunications firms, post-secondary schools, consultant groups, and government groups.
Denise Shortt will serve as interim president and CEO while ITAC searches for a permanent replacement for Watson. She offered the following statement via email:
“Robert Watson has decided to step down from his position as CEO of ITAC, in order to pursue other opportunities. We thank Robert for his contributions and wish him great success in the future. During his tenure, Robert oversaw the team responsible for strengthening membership retention, expansion of ITAC’s membership base and forging ever stronger relationships with universities, government and industry. ITAC is committed to championing development of a robust and sustainable digital economy in Canada, and continues to support its information technology members with a bridge between business and government.”