Absolute Software CEO retiring, plans to become startup mentor

John Livingston, who was in on the ground floor in building one of Vancouver's most successful software companies, has resigned as CEO of Absolute Software Corp. (TSX:ABT). Livingston, 54, said he is retiring, but plans to stay involved in Vancouver's high-tech sector through mentoring and investing in local high-tech startups.

John Livingston, who was in on the ground floor in building one of Vancouver's most successful software companies, has resigned as CEO of Absolute Software Corp. (TSX:ABT). Livingston, 54, said he is retiring, but plans to stay involved in Vancouver's high-tech sector through mentoring and investing in local high-tech startups.

"I am looking very much forward to helping Vancouver entrepreneurs move their business forward," Livingston told Business in Vancouver. "I'll be working with the various community organizations, like ACETECH and BCTIA, and the angel investment community to be able to make my 20 years of experience building Absolute Software to a $100 million company available to other small startups.

"I'll be involved as an investor and a board member in other companies, but I think my job now is to mentor other CEOs coming into their own."

Livingston plans to take a short vacation first, and plans to be back in the New Year, when he plans to get more involved with local startups.

"I want to thank all of the team at Absolute Software for an incredible experience working with them and feel very pleased with the state of the business," Livingston said. "It's in great shape and there's a lot of exciting things happening in Absolute."

Errol Olsen, Absolute's chief financial officer, will serve as interim CEO until the company finds a successor.

"We are tremendously thankful for John's contributions over the past 20 years that have seen Absolute evolve into a global leader in endpoint security and management," Ryan said.

"The company remains committed to our strategic focus on accelerating sales growth and expanding into new markets."

Livingston, who was profiled by Business in Vancouver in 2011, joined co-founders Christian Cotichini and Fraser Cain in 1994 to build a company based on anti-theft software that could be used to track stolen or lost computers.

Livingston has been Absolute's CEO for nearly two decades, steering it through a number of rough patches, including taking the company public in 2000 on the day the market crashed, and a lawsuit arising from an invasion of privacy allegation in 2011, in which Absolute's security team allegedly took a screen capture of an American woman in a sexually explicit pose and turned it over to police as part of an investigation into a stolen laptop.The suit was settled out of court.

With 350 employees and a market cap of $296 million, Absolute was ranked No. 22 this year by Business in Vancouver in B.C.'s top 100 high-tech companies. Absolute makes software used for tracking lost or stolen computers, and for centralized management of an organization's computers and devices.

Absolute's stock was down 0.57% to $6.94 at close of markets Wednesday.

nbennett@biv.com

@nbennett_biv