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John Longbottom joins WestGrid as new Chief Executive Officer

WestGrid’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of John Longbottom as WestGrid’s new Chief Executive Officer.

John brings a wealth of experience across the telecommunications, utilities, government, and insurance sectors, having previously held senior positions in sales, marketing, and general management. Prior to joining WestGrid, John led IBM Canada’s innovation strategy in Western Canada, including its Smarter Cities initiative, which focused on creating value through new information technology (IT) models, agile development, and an alignment of partner capabilities from industry, government, academia, research and start-up companies and organizations.

“John has a valuable portfolio of expertise from working at the forefront of several innovation programs spanning the technology and industry sectors across Western Canada. This, combined with his strengths in developing strategic relationships at local and national levels, makes him well-positioned to lead WestGrid into its next chapter as a regional catalyst for digitally-enabled research and development,” says John Hepburn, Chair of WestGrid’s Board of Directors.

During his time with IBM, John Longbottom was responsible for its overall efforts to improve operations and service delivery within cities, regions, and government agencies. In 2013, he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work with communities. John also held the position of Manager of Strategy and Planning within IBM’s Global Industry Business Solutions in New York, where he worked on a four-year assignment in IBM’s U.S. corporate headquarters, focused on marketing strategy and planning, and business strategy for IBM’s e-business Solutions. In 2004, John created and implemented IBM Canada’s National Aboriginal strategy and continues to support that strategy in an advisory capacity.

“I thrive on delivering solutions to challenges, and so I’m looking forward to working with the WestGrid team, Board, and stakeholder members to reinforce and enhance our value proposition and to driving innovation within the research sector, while also exploring new opportunities to engage with our ecosystem partners,” he says.

John has also held executive positions at Ceridian Canada Ltd., first as Vice-President and General Manager of Western Canada responsible for the company’s business interests from Victoria to Thunder Bay, where he focused on business development, operational effectiveness, strategic sales and marketing. John then moved to become EVP, Sales and Marketing where he was responsible for market intelligence, market planning, marketing communications, marketing operations, new business development, sales, partner relations, and account management. He was also responsible for the leadership and financial management of Life-Works Services, Ceridian’s EAP division.

John Longbottom replaces outgoing CEO Lindsay Sill, who was part of the WestGrid team for more than a decade. In addition to leading WestGrid through multiple phases of operational growth and technology evolutions, Lindsay actively contributed to national Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI) strategies, strengthened regional partnerships and collaborations, and spearheaded WestGrid’s 2017 incorporation as a not-for-profit organization, appointing its inaugural Board of Directors in 2018. She stepped down from WestGrid in December 2019 to pursue new entrepreneurial ventures and explore interest in building a local science centre.

“I’d like to thank Lindsay for her leadership, vision, and dedication to this organization during her tenure with WestGrid,” says John Hepburn. “She always ensured WestGrid was a collaborative partner and contributor to Canada’s DRI ecosystem, and was passionate about delivering resources and services that enabled researchers to advance and innovate their work.”