Duncan exits ITAC

The Information Technology Association of Canada confirmed Monday that Gaylen Duncan is no longer its president and CEO.

Duncan, who had led the IT industry advocacy group for seven years, left quietly a week ago, ITAC spokesperson

Lynda Leonard told ITBusiness.ca. There was no reason given for his departure, and Leonard would not say whether he had moved to a new job. Duncan could not be reached directly at press time.

Duncan was one of the industry’s most outspoken voices, often lending his views on issues relating to the interplay between the IT sector and Canadian economic policy. He sat on a number of diverse boards and committees including The Broadband Task Force and the Advisory Committee to the Minister of National Revenue on Electronic Commerce. Duncan also participated in a number of roundtables, such as the Roundtable on E-business Opportunities, the National Research Council’s Advisory Committee on the Industrial Research Assistance Program, as well as participating in the Government On-Line Advisory Board.

One of Duncan’s shining moments came in late 2002 at the Charlottetown, P.E.I-based SoftWorld 2002 conference. Speaking to the conference attendees, Industry Minister Allan Rock said the newly-developed federal innovation strategy owed a huge debt to analysis documents prepared by the Information Technology Association of Canada.

Robert Crow, who was a vice-president of policy at ITAC from 1999 to 2001 and is currently the director of university and government relations at Research In Motion Ltd., says Duncan had developed the right contacts to get the job done.

“”When I worked with Gaylen he was a big picture guy,”” he said. “”Very, very bright . . . and knowledgeable about the issues. Certainly articulate and certainly very capable of advancing the industry’s agenda.””

Even industry players who did not always see eye to eye with Duncan seemed shocked at his sudden departure. Rob Black, executive director of Canadian Information Processing Society’s (CIPS) Toronto, said that he and Duncan had occasionally collided, because the two organizations they work for represent different parties.

“”Just because we crossed swords doesn’t mean that I don’t respect him, not for a second. I highly respect him,”” he said. “”He will be missed, no doubt about it. It will leave a significant hole, in my opinion.””

Black said Duncan had a unique mix of skills. With a background in law and business and experience in both the public and private sector, he is not the type of person one comes across often, Black said.

“”To tell you quite bluntly, we IT people are not known to have the best social skills. So that’s o

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