“An awful lot of whether things work or not is based on trust. To have a system work, you have to believe it is a good system.” – Dave Mowat
Alberta’s 2014 Business Person of the Year has one of the most recognizable voices in the province. Dave Mowat, the CEO of ATB Financial, is not a behind-the-scenes leader. His straightforward and accessible attitude can be heard through ATB’s radio commercials, which he voices himself. His transparent leadership style earned him a top place on Glassdoor’s Highest Rated CEOs with a 99 per cent approval rating. The man even lists his email publicly and ensures his clients that yes, he will answer. The year Mowat won, energy prices were high, the federal government approved Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project (with 209 conditions) and natural gas prices were rising. Mowat remembers focusing on technological upgrades and pushing for a higher level of customer service. “That year we would have posted our best customer loyalty scores, our best team engagement scores and our best profitability,” Mowat says. “To grow all three at the same time, I think that is nirvana for business.” In 2015, Mowat took on a decidedly public role as the chair of a royalty review panel appointed by the new NDP government. His work there is one of his proudest accomplishments, but he insists he gets too much credit for it. “We had a terrific team that worked on it,” he says. “The idea that it was accepted and adopted by basically all sides is a testament that we listened to enough people to get it right.” His transparent leadership style carried over to the royalty review as he pushed for more openness and the disclosure of more information to the public. “An awful lot of whether things work or not is based on trust,” Mowat says. “To have a system work, you have to believe it is a good system.” Since the royalty review, Mowat has not slowed down. He says he’s taking some time to focus on banking from “the other side of the desk,” to improve customer experience.
The Year that Was 2014
Alison Redford resigns as premier
Natural gas hits a high of $7.50
WestJet moves to “premium economy” seating