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Conflict of interest forces governor resignation

Michael Tremblay resigned from the Board of Governors on March 2 because of a conflict of interest arising from his new job as CEO of Invest Ottawa.

The longtime governor first publicly announced at the BoG meeting on Feb. 13 that he would be resigning once he takes the reins of the non-profit, because Algonquin president Cheryl Jensen is also on its board.

He said remaining on the BoG would create an awkward balance of power, where he is her boss and vice-versa.

“There’s a very direct conflict,” he told the Algonquin Times.

He said there was no better time to resign, as the BoG was already in the midst of a recruitment campaign for new governors. They were initially looking for three new governors, but he made for a fourth.

The three other governors will leave over the summer because their term is ending. They are board chair Kathryn Leroux, broadcaster Mark Sutcliffe and businesswoman Lynne Clark.

“We’ve gotten some really impressive resumes,” Tremblay said. He estimated they had received about 36 applications.

Tremblay’s role on the BoG was as chair of the governance committee, which handles recruitment. Since he is stepping down, he said he will have no role in choosing his successor.

His current term started in 2015 and he served a previous term from 2004 to 2010. Rules state the governors can serve up to two three-year terms consecutively, then must wait two years before being re-appointed.

Tremblay also stepped down from his previous job as vice-president of public sector at Microsoft Canada, a post he had held since 2007. A graduate of Algonquin’s computer technology program, he worked in the tech sector for about 34 years.

Being CEO of Invest Ottawa will be “a fair bit different,” Tremblay said.

At Microsoft, he was in charge of sales to government and other public sector clients and built up business relationships with them.

At Invest Ottawa, he’ll work with businesses and entrepreneurs to drive investment to the city economy.

He said there are three main focuses: Helping entrepreneurs start their businesses, attracting investment and business from outside Ottawa to come here, and branding the city as a place to do business.

“It’s kind of a new area for me and I’m kind of excited.”

It won’t be goodbye forever to Algonquin, either. He said he plans to work closely with Algonquin’s own entrepreneurship centre on future projects.

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