Corner Office Shifts: New CEOs at Bombardier, Canadian Tire Corp

Plus, Shopify welcomes a Facebook exec after restructuring its marketing department.
Corner Office

Bombardier replaces CEO as turnaround plan nears completion

Bombardier has appointed a Hydro-Québec exec as its next CEO as the global company faces a worsening economic outlook and increased volatility in the air travel industry amid coronavirus fears and mounting travel restrictions worldwide.

Éric Martel, who was CEO of the Quebec power corp since 2015, will replace Alain Bellemare as chief executive on April 6. Bellemare has led Bombardier’s five-year turnaround since 2015, and with the plan nearing completion, the board of directors agreed it was time to find a replacement, according to a company statement.

In a release, chairman Pierre Beaudoin said Bellemare “oversaw a large and complex transformation addressing underperforming assets, major program issues and balance sheet challenges while positioning Bombardier for success as a focused business aviation company.”

Martel will take over at Bombardier as the former train and commercial jet manufacturer forges ahead as a pure-play producer of business jets. In February, the company agreed to sell its entire rail division to France’s Alstom for $8.2 billion, pending regulatory approval. Within the last few years, it sold its C-Series aircraft program to Airbus SE in 2018 and its regional jet business to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries – ending its 33-year-run in commercial aerospace.

Martel has previous experience with Bombardier, having served in a number of leadership positions over the years, including president of its business aircraft division. He has also served at Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce, P&G and Kraft Foods.

Canadian Tire Corp appoints successor to retiring CEO Stephen Wetmore 

After nine years at the helm of one of Canada’s largest retail groups, Stephen Wetmore is retiring. The chief executive of Canadian Tire Corp was succeeded by Greg Hicks, president of Canadian Tire’s retail unit, effective last week.

As president of Canadian Tire retail, Hicks oversaw the conglomerate’s largest unit, with around 500 stores across Canada and more than $9 billion in revenue. He was selected from among a pool of internal and external global candidates.

In a release, Maureen Sabia, chairman of Canadian Tire Corporation, said Hicks was picked based on his “deep understanding” of its strategic priorities, as well as his experience helping to develop and implement its digital and ecommerce strategy.

Hicks has spent seven years with the company, serving as group SVP of consumer products and retail experience. He currently serves as chair of the Retail Council of Canada.

Facebook exec joins Shopify’s leadership team

Luc Levesque, a former tech executive at Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor, will lead international growth for Ottawa-based Shopify.

Levesque replaces former VP of international Aaron Brown, who is reportedly taking on a new senior role within the company. He began his career at TravelPod, a blog acquired by Expedia in 2001, and has since advised major tech companies including Twitter, Quora and Pinterest and served as VP of growth at TripAdvisor. He joined Facebook as a senior director in 2017.

His appointment at Shopify comes a month after CMO Jeff Weiser was let go following a corporate restructuring aimed at merging the ecommerce giant’s marketing and product divisions, according to media reports.

In an email to employees, obtained by Betakit, CEO Tobi Lütke said the company’s current strategy under Weiser led to the “successful discovery of something that didn’t work,” adding that Shopify planned to “reboot and take another root.”