Canadian Business names Mark Barrenechea top new CEO of the year

mark barrenechea

In recognition of Canada’s most innovative business leaders, Canadian Business named its CEOs of the year for 2015. OpenText CEO Mark Barrenechea earned a place under the category of Top New CEO of the year, which recognizes CEOs that have had a tenure of less than five years.

In four years, OpenText has gone from no revenue in cloud services to over $700 million, a third of its earnings.

Joining Waterloo-based OpenText as CEO in 2012, most of Barrenechea’s experience came from working in California’s technology scene — though he must have felt at home, once calling Ontario the Silicon Valley of the north. He took the time to learn about the firm and the employees who knew the company well. “You gotta win employees’ hearts before you win their hands,” he told Canadian Business. Under his watch, the company stock price has more than doubled.

While OpenText has roots in helping enterprises deal with unstructured data, Barrenechea’s focus has been helping clients automate processes such as a bank’s loan approval system. The company also now offers a cloud delivery model, and over four years has gone from no revenue in cloud services to over $700 million, which is a third of its earnings.

But Barrenechea has also seen some tough times. OpenText’s third-quarter earnings were lower than expected, and the stock fell by more than 30 percent. And this past year, Barrenechea was diagnosed with leukemia and took a step back to focus on his health — working out of his room at the Stanford University Medical Center. Now in remission, Barrenechea returned to focus on moving customers to digital processes and get OpenText’s cloud services earnings up to 50 percent of the company’s revenue.

Read the full profile here.