The former Canada Post CEO who shepherded the crown corporation through a fruitful period of digital transformation has joined Canada’s most well-known drone startup.
On Monday, Drone Delivery Canada (DDC) announced that Deepak Chopra, who stepped down from his position as Canada Post CEO at the end of March after running the organization for seven years, had joined DDC as its strategic advisor of commercialization.
In a July 16 statement, DDC CEO Tony Di Benedetto called the hire a material addition to the company’s focus on making 2018 the year it goes from research to generating commercial revenue.
“2018 is the year DDC moves out of our lab and into the sky enabling our customers to use drones for critical package deliveries,” Di Benedetto said in the statement. “We welcome Mr. Chopra to team DDC and are confident that his global experience and acute understanding of hard-to-serve remote communities will play an invaluable role in achieving our goals quickly and efficiently.”
As CEO of Canada Post, Chopra oversaw a reinvention that transformed the crown corporation from a struggling legacy business into an ecommerce powerhouse which collected more than $8 billion in revenue last year and posted annual profits during the past four years in a row, thanks to his relentless focus on customer experience as the foundation of every decision. (Not to mention cost-saving strategies such as a Microsoft Outlook add-on that ultimately saved the organization $4 million.)
In his new position with DDC, Chopra’s role will be to identify commercial opportunities in the areas of remote healthcare, transportation, and logistics, in addition to package delivery, with a particular focus on rural and northern communities both in Canada and around the world.
“With technology for Drones rapidly maturing to fly farther and carry heavier payloads, the list of potential commercial applications is quite large,” Chopra said in the July 16 statement. “With a head-start on BVLOS [beyond visible line of sight] testing, Drone Delivery Canada has the first mover advantage in Canada to be at the forefront of these solutions.”
As previously outlined by ITBusiness.ca, BVLOS is a key limitation imposed by governments on drone hobbyists which commercial practitioners say must include exemptions for businesses if they’re to turn a profit.
In its most recent version of drone regulations, released at the end of June, Transport Canada allows commercial operators to apply for a Special Flight Operations Certification or exemption that allows them to run commercial BVLOS operations.