Tech dominates list of Toronto’s most likeable CEOs

Tech has long enjoyed a reputation as an employee-friendly industry, and as a new report illustrates, that impression reaches all the way to the top.

San Mateo, Calif.-based Owler Inc., which is building a company and executive database from information provided by its 1 million-plus users, recently-released its first-ever report on CEO likeability – and in Toronto, tech-based and tech-adjacent firms came out on top.

According to the report, released on May 23, Toronto’s’s top three CEOs were Celestica Inc.’s Rob Mionis, Sun Life Financial Inc.’s Dean A. Connor, and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)’s Victor Dodig.

Owler founder and CEO Jim Fowler says tech’s innovation and reach means its leaders are often admired.

Those results don’t surprise Owler founder and CEO Jim Fowler, who said that he’s noticed several factors that typically make leaders in the technology industry, whether in Toronto or elsewhere, stand out.

“The technology industry is leading the way around the world, so any city with a strong tech scene is going to see those CEOs topping lists,” he says. “They’re leading big, innovative companies that are dominating business news.”

Moreover, he notes, tech companies are often global enterprises with footprints around the world. Therefore, regardless of where they’re located they often enjoy a broader reach than local or regional businesses – and because consumers interact with its innovations so frequently, and easily, a more positive reputation as well.

“Tech touches all aspects of all people’s lives,” Fowler says. “It affects every person in almost every way, from our daily commute, to our communication… it’s a very forward-thinking and innovative industry, and I think that resonates with people.”

Owler based its analysis on thousands of CEO reviews from site users, who awarded Toronto’s CEOs an average likeability score of 71.6 out of 100 – slightly higher than Canada’s national average of 68.3 out of 100.

Tech dominated Montreal’s list of top 10 CEOs as well, led by Groupe Sharegate Inc.’s Simon De Baene, CGI Group Inc.’s Michael E. Roach, and outsourcing firm Lightspeed POS Inc.’s Dax Dasilva.

It’s worth noting that tech was less dominant of Fowler’s results elsewhere. Vancouver’s top 10 CEOs, for example, hailed from the industrial sector, led by West Fraser Timber’s Edward Seraphim and Freightera Logistics Inc.’s Eric Beckwitt, with NuData Security’s Michel Giasson in third place.

The U.S. top 10, meanwhile, was dominated by financial, hospitality, and retail services, with Costco Wholesale Corp.’s Craig Jelinek in first place, Marriott International Inc.’s Arne M. Sorenson in second, and Capital One Financial Corp.’s Richard D. Fairbank in third. (IT and data services providers Rockwell Collins Inc.’s Robert K. Ortberg and Graybar Electric Co. Inc.’s Kathleen Mazzarella also made the list, at places six and seven, respectively.)

It also must be mentioned that merely being in the top 10 was no indication of a CEO’s likeability: Colliers International’s Jay Hennick, for example, may have come in tenth place in the Toronto rankings, but his rating out of 100 was an abysmal 44.5.

Check out Toronto’s top 10 CEOs, as ranked by Owler users, below.

Courtesy Owler

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former editor of ITBusiness.ca turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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