Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of Canadian innovation hub MaRS Discovery District, will step down at the next annual general meeting in June 2017. Treurnicht, who headed Toronto-based MaRS for almost twelve years, said the organization is entering a next phase of growth and that it is the right time “for a new leader to take the helm.” MaRS’ board has appointed a special committee to direct a search process for a new CEO. Treurnicht joined MaRS in 2005 after serving for over six years as CEO of Primaxis Technology Ventures, a Canadian venture capital firm.
MaRS announces CEO Ilse Treurnicht to step down at next AGM, June 2017
TORONTO, June 8, 2016 — MaRS Discovery District announced today that its Chief Executive Officer Ilse Treurnicht, who has led the organization for almost 12 years, has decided to step down at the next annual general meeting in June 2017.
“MaRS is entering its next phase of growth and the momentum is palpable,” said Treurnicht. “Our beautiful centre has doubled in size and is thriving. We are working with an outstanding group of fast-growing companies and we are seeing strong results from our proudly Canadian approach to innovation that focuses on both economic results and societal impact.”
Saluting her team and the many MaRS volunteers, including the MaRS Board of Directors, Treurnicht added, “It took a monumental effort by a small army of dedicated people to get here and great things lie ahead. Now is the right time for me to explore other opportunities and for a new leader to take the helm.”
The board has appointed a special committee to direct the search process. The committee is co-chaired by Gord Nixon, Chair of the MaRS Board of Directors, and Richard Ivey, Vice Chair and Chair of the Governance and HR Committee. The committee will select a search firm in the coming weeks and will consider both internal and external candidates.
Treurnicht observed that it was still too early to say goodbye and she anticipated a busy year ahead. “It remains an honour and a privilege to be part of this amazing organization, working alongside so many talented people and incredible partners who care deeply about Canada’s future. Right now, however, I’m focused on putting things on the best possible footing for my successor. Job one is getting our new tenants settled in the West Tower and privately refinancing the bulk of the provincial loan that enabled us to expand the project. I expect that to be completed soon,” said Treurnicht.
Nixon echoed Treurnicht’s sentiments while commending her contributions. “Over the past decade, MaRS has grown from a big idea into a flourishing urban innovation hub that is viewed as a model by leading cities around the world. Ilse’s vision, leadership and unwavering commitment has transformed MaRS into an organization that plays a critical role in fostering innovation and scaling it for impact in Canada and beyond. It is an invaluable asset for the province of Ontario. The board looks forward to celebrating Ilse’s contributions in the months ahead. With MaRS now in such a strong position, the board is confident that we will find an excellent successor who will provide us with leadership for the next decade,” said Nixon.
About MaRS Discovery District
MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) in Toronto is one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs. MaRS supports promising young ventures that are tackling key challenges in the health, cleantech, finance & commerce, as well as work & learning sectors. In addition to helping startups launch, grow and scale, the MaRS community is dedicated to cross-disciplinary collaboration, commercialization of discoveries and driving ideas to impact.
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MaRS Discovery District
Photo courtesy of The University of Oxford