Speaker Bios

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Chairman & Moderator:

Perry Spitznagel
Vice-Chairman & Partner (Calgary), Bennett Jones LLP

Perry Spitznagel is vice-chairman of Bennett Jones, partner at the Calgary office and a member of the firm’s Partnership Board.

Perry is a corporate lawyer with extensive national and cross-border experience. He has acted for clients in some of the largest transactions in Canada, including many of Canada’s and North America’s largest national and cross-border mergers.

Perry has been recognized by Financial Post Magazine as one of the 25 most influential people in corporate Canada. He is also recognized by Chambers Global, the Legal Media Group, Best Lawyers in Canada, PLC Which Lawyer, the IFLR 1000 and The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a leading lawyer in his areas of expertise.

Perry is a director of public and private companies. He is also a director of Winsport Canada, which manages the legacy assets and programs of the Calgary Winter Olympics, and is a past director of Alpine Canada. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of Samara Canada and a past member of the Alberta Securities Commission Advisory Committee. A former ski racer, Perry remains active in skiing.

Perry is a graduate of McGill University, BA (Economics), 1979, with great distinction, and Osgoode Hall Law School, LLB, 1982.

He is a frequent speaker and has chaired national and international conferences on a variety of business law topics. Perry speaks French and German.


Siegfried Kiefer
Chief Strategy Officer, ATCO Ltd & Canadian Utilities Ltd. and President, Canadian Utilities Ltd.

Piegfried Kiefer is Chief Strategy Officer, ATCO & Canadian Utilities Limited and President, Canadian Utilities Limited. With approximately 7,000 employees and assets of $20 billion, ATCO is a diversified global corporation delivering service excellence and innovative business solutions in Structures & Logistics, Electricity, Pipelines & Liquids and Retail Energy.

Mr. Kiefer was appointed Chief Strategy Officer, ATCO & Canadian Utilities Limited in October 2016 and was named President, Canadian Utilities Limited in May 2015 after serving as ATCO’s Chief Operating Officer, Power & Utilities since July 2013. Formerly he was Managing Director, Utilities Business Group, where he oversaw the operations of ATCO Gas, ATCO Electric and ATCO Pipelines, along with subsidiaries Northland Utilities Limited and ATCO Electric Yukon. He also oversaw the formation and operations of ATCO Energy Services, and served as Chief Information Officer for ATCO Group for more than 11 years until late 2009.

Mr. Kiefer’s career with ATCO Group began in 1983 when he started with Canadian Western Natural Gas as a Financial Analyst, and later appointed to various technical and management roles within Canadian Utilities’ Information Services.

In 1997, Mr. Kiefer transferred to ATCO Gas Services Ltd., now known as ATCO Energy Solutions, as Manager, Utility Services. One year later, he was appointed Vice President, Information Technology & CIO within ATCO Group, and took on the added role as President, ATCO I-Tek in 1999. In July 2000, Mr. Kiefer was appointed Managing Director, Technologies Business Group, ATCO Ltd. & Canadian Utilities Limited, where he oversaw the operations of ATCO I-Tek while retaining the CIO role within ATCO’s head office.

Mr. Kiefer has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Calgary. He is married to Colleen and has a son, Stefan and a daughter, Reegan.

David Dodge
Former Governor of the Bank of Canada

A native of Toronto, Mr. Dodge received a bachelor’s degree (honours) from Queen’s University, and a PhD in economics from Princeton. During his academic career, he taught economics at Queen’s University; at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; at the Faculty of Commerce at the University of British Columbia; and at Simon Fraser University. He also served as Director of the International Economics Program of the Institute for Research on Public Policy. Mr. Dodge has been awarded honorary degrees from a number of Canadian universities. In 2009, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

During a distinguished career in the federal public service, Mr. Dodge held senior positions in the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Anti-Inflation Board, and the Department of Employment and Immigration. After serving in a number of increasingly senior positions at the Department of Finance, including that of G-7
Deputy, he was Deputy Minister of Finance from 1992 to 1997. In that role, he served as a member of the Bank of Canada’s Board of Directors. In 1998 he was appointed Deputy Minister of Health, a position he held until his appointment as Governor of the Bank of Canada. Mr. Dodge, appointed Governor of the Bank of Canada, effective 1 February 2001 for a term of seven years, retired on 31 January 2008. From July 2008 to June 2014, he served as Chancellor of Queen’s University. From 2009 to 2015, he was a member of the board of directors of Canadian Utilities Limited, ATCO Limited and the Bank of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Dodge is Senior Advisor at Bennett Jones LLP one of Canada’s leading law firms. He also serves on the board of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and Chairs the National Council of the C.D. Howe Institute.

Todd Roberts
Senior Vice-President, Enterprise Payments & Innovation, CIBC

Todd is part of a team that catalyzes innovation across CIBC. His team secures and manages external strategic relationships with leading technology innovators while also overseeing the direct investment made by the bank into these partners.

Todd’s team also leads the bank’s enterprise-wide payments strategy executing against key payments priorities and managing the delivery of priority initiatives. Under his leadership, CIBC was the first bank in Canada to introduce all three leading mobile wallets for its clients in 2017.

A frequent speaker at industry events and conferences in Canada and the United States, Todd is consulted by media and other industry stakeholders on matters related to innovation and payments in Canada.

Todd joined CIBC in 2012. Prior to CIBC, Todd held senior leadership positions in the consulting units of Deloitte and Monitor Company. He earned a Honours bachelor’s degree in business administration, with distinction, from the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario.

Judy Fairburn
Executive Vice-President, Safety and Chief Digital Officer, Cenovus

As the Executive Vice-President, Safety & Chief Digital Officer at Cenovus, Judy is accountable for evolving our health and safety standards and operations management system, and driving our safety commitments across the company. She is also accountable for leading Cenovus’s digital transformation strategy and developing innovative cross-sector partnerships in areas of strategic importance to the company. Judy also oversees Cenovus’s enterprise information systems, workplace requirements and real estate. Her previous executive and senior leadership responsibilities include operations, refining, strategic planning, environment, portfolio management, technology development and corporate venture capital.

Trained as a chemical engineer and having completed an MBA, Judy started her career as a facilities and operations engineer in oil sands and natural gas facilities. She is well known for driving collaborative innovation. She was pivotal in furthering the integration of environment into Cenovus’s business strategy and in the creation of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA). Judy serves as the Board Chair of Alberta Innovates, the Alberta government’s not-for-profit corporation that seeks to catalyze impactful research and innovation across the energy, environment, forestry, agriculture, health and emerging technology sectors. Judy is a Director and co-founder of Evok Innovations, a cleantech fund focused on accelerating the development and commercialization of solutions to environmental and economic challenges facing the oil and gas sector. She is also a Director for the federal cleantech fund Sustainable Technology Development Canada, as well as Director of the Public Policy Forum, an organization focused on tackling Canada’s most complex challenges through constructive dialogue across all sectors.

Judy is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and is also a member of Abundance 360 – a select group of entrepreneurs and senior executives focused on capitalizing on transformative digital change.

Gary Kovacs
Former CEO AVG Technologies, Board Member, Advisor, Technologist

Most recently CEO of AVG Technologies – a leader in delivering security software and services to over 200 million users world-wide. Kovacs was formerly CEO of Mozilla Corporation where he led the development and delivery of the Firefox browser to over 500 million people world-wide. He has held senior executive positions at SAP (Sybase), Adobe (Macromedia) and IBM. He started his career in software with the founding and growth of Zi Corporation, a groundbreaking mobile text messaging company from inception to IPO (Nasdaq) to global scale. He is a sought after public speaker and has delivered keynote addresses at TED, the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mobile World Congress, Clinton Global Initiative, F.ounders, All things Digital (now Code/ Re/Code), Fortune Brainstorm, among many others. He is a board member for numerous technology companies and not-for-profits including Make-A-Wish and Runway Capital, and serves on the advisory board of Docusign and the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary.

Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, CMG
British High Commissioner, Canada

Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque has been Britain’s High Commissioner to Canada since August this year.

Her 30 year diplomatic career has taken her to three continents, and exposed her to issues from the EU, to nuclear non-proliferation, anti-narcotics work and the corporate challenge of the Foreign Service’s HR policies. She has lived through a coup in Venezuela, and the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote in her last post as Ambassador to Austria and Permanent Representative to the UN organisations in Vienna. A career highlight was taking part in the negotiations which led to the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran.

Susan speaks French, German and Spanish and is married to Stéphane, a former journalist and teacher. They have two grown-up sons.

Peter Tertzakian
Executive Director, ARC Financial Corp.

Peter is an economist, investment strategist, author and public speaker on issues vital to the future of energy.

He has clocked over 30 years of experience in the business of energy, spanning all systems from oil and gas to renewables. Peter’s passion is studying how society evolves its energy use and applying the lessons of the past into today’s strategic business issues. His holistic knowledge of physics, innovation, finance and economics allows him to give audiences thought provoking advice on how to think about the pressing issues on the future of energy systems.

An accomplished author, Peter’s two best-selling books, A Thousand Barrels a Second (McGraw-Hill, NY 2005) and The End of Energy Obesity (John Wiley & Sons, NY 2009) provide insight into the dynamic world of energy transitions through a thoughtful and highly readable examination of economic, environmental and geopolitical pressures. He has written over 600 weekly columns, current issues of which are distributed through various media channels.

Peter has an undergraduate degree in Geophysics from the University of Alberta, a graduate degree in Econometrics from the University of Southampton UK, and a Master of Science in Management of Technology from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. In addition to his principal roles at the ARC Energy Research Institute and ARC Financial, he is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Calgary and has lectured at many leading universities and conferences around the world.

Hon. John R. Baird, P.C.
Former Federal Minister (Foreign Affairs, Environment, Transport & Infrastructure)

John Baird is a Senior Advisor at Bennett Jones LLP and a former Senior Cabinet Minister in the Government of Canada.

An instrumental figure in bilateral trade and investment relationships, Mr. Baird has played a leading role in the Canada-China dialogue and worked to build ties with ASEAN countries. In addition, Mr. Baird has worked closely with international leaders to strengthen security and economic ties with the United States and Middle Eastern countries.

A native of Ottawa, Baird spent three terms as a Member of Parliament and four years as Foreign Minister. He also served as President of the Treasury Board, Minister of the Environment, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. Prior to entering federal politics, Mr. Baird spent ten years in the Ontario Legislature where he served as Minister of Community and Social Services, Minister of Energy, and Government House Leader.

In addition to his work with Bennett Jones, Mr. Baird sits on the advisory board of Barrick Gold Corp., the corporate boards of Canadian Pacific, Canadian Forest Products (Canfor), the FWD Group and PineBridge Investments. He also serves as a Global Strategic Advisor to Hatch Ltd, a Canadian global multidisciplinary management, engineering and development consultancy, and is a Senior Advisor at Eurasia Group, a global political risk consultancy.

Mr. Baird also volunteers his time with Community Living Ontario, an organization that supports individuals with developmental disabilities, the Prince’s Charities, the charitable office of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, and is a board member of the Friends of Israel Initiative. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies from Queen’s University at Kingston.