Iain Black to leave GVBOT

The president and CEO will begin work in the technology and new economy sector

GVBOT president and CEO Iain Black will leave the association for work in the technology and new economy sector | Rob Kruyt

What happened: The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade announced the upcoming departure of its president and CEO Iain Black.

Why it matters: Under Black's leadership, the GVBOT has grown into its own as one of Western Canada’s most prominent and influential business associations.

After serving more than seven years as president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT), Iain Black is moving on from his role as business advocate and heading back to work in the private sector.

Black has accepted a role as CEO in the technology and new economy sector.

“Leaving a role you love is always difficult,” said Black in a news release. “It is harder still when your colleagues both at the board table and at the office have been so dedicated, so talented and, as a result, so very successful.”

“I am so proud of what these extraordinary people have achieved together, and will always consider it a great privilege to have served in this role.”

Black joined the more than 130-year-old non-profit at a time when its membership numbers were dwindling.

Its books were also struggling with a $1.6-million deficit, something Black managed to eliminate in just two years.

Under his leadership, the GVBOT has undergone a significant rebrand from the Vancouver Board of Trade. That involved a broadened mandate to highlight and address issues in the Greater Vancouver region – work that includes two comprehensive regional scorecards that chart the region’s relative competitiveness.

In seven and a half years, Black and his team have hosted more than 1,000 events and reinvented the GVBOT’s signature programs. More recently, the organization re-launched its World Trade Centre, and with it, a suite of trade-related programs for businesses.

The GVBOT has brought internationally recognized leaders such as Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and former U.S. president Barack Obama to Vancouver, setting and breaking records for event attendance each time.

Under Black, the GVBOT has grown into its own as one of Western Canada’s most prominent and influential business associations.

His work earned him the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada (CCEC) Executive of the Year award in 2015.

“Iain’s unwavering leadership, vision, and drive have propelled this organization to reach new heights over the past seven and a half years. He leaves the organization in an extremely strong position for the future, and we thank him sincerely for his contributions,” said GVBOT board chair Lori Mathison in a news release.

The news marks a return to the private sector for Black, who spent 15 years in the technology and new economy sector prior to running for provincial public office.

He was elected as a BC Liberal member of the legislative assembly for the riding of Port Moody-Westwood in 2005 and 2009, during which time he served as a minister in three different cabinet positions.

Black currently serves as a member of Science World British Columbia’s chair’s council, and as the chancellor of the Vancouver School of Theology.

The GVBOT's board of directors will commence a search for Black’s replacement.