Management 2018-03-23T14:31:03+00:00

The backbone of Kognitiv management is its group of founders. Over the course of the past few years, the founders merged their business with Kognitiv and joined the Kognitiv management team. Their shared inspiration and entrepreneurial passion is what drives Kognitiv’s customer success.

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Peter Schwartz's PhotoWillem Galle's PhotoJonathan Carroll's PhotoTodd Handcock's Photo


Peter Schwartz

Executive Chairman

Peter is Executive Chairman and Founder of Kognitiv; formerly Chairman and CEO of Descartes Systems Group (NASDAQ.DSGX, DSG.TO); co-founded Laurence Capital, which has invested in some of Canada’s greatest entrepreneurs; co-founded Communitech, a Waterloo regional technology hub; and he was named to Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 at the age of 31.


Willem Galle

Chief Executive Officer

Willem enjoys a career in digital technology innovation in global travel and logistics. His accomplishments include implementing the first deregulated airline service in Europe, pioneering the first intermodal global shipment tracking system using the Internet architecture as startup CEO. He was the COO of Descartes Systems Group. Willem is responsible for the design and implementation of Kognitiv’s strategy as CEO.


Jonathan Carroll

President, Americas

Jonathan founded Travel Nation, one of Canada’s leading full service travel agencies. Before that he was the founder and CEO of iTravel2000, Canada’s largest and most successful online retail travel agency. Once a ‘top 40 under 40’ he worked in both North America and Europe and is a recognized leader in the travel industry. Jonathan is responsible for Kognitiv’s Travel Nation division and for sales operations in North and South America as President, Americas.


Todd Handcock

President, EMEA & APAC

With over 20 years of experience in establishing and building businesses across Asia, Todd leads Kognitiv’s sales operations in Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific regions as EMEA & APAC President. Before joining Kognitiv, Todd was Asia Pacific CEO and Global CMO for Williams Lea Tag and has also held a number of executive roles in the consumer, design, information technology and outsourcing industries, including as Asia Pacific COO for British Telecom, Asia Pacific VP for Descartes Systems Group, Regional MD for Cott Corporation, and Asia Pacific CMO for Equinix. Todd is a Board member of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and is a Founding Member of the Marketing Society in Asia.


Michael Chase's PhotoRobert Bowerman's PhotoAdam Heller's PhotoSarah Tritsaris's Photo


Michael Chase

Chief Strategy Officer

Michael is Chief Strategy Officer of Kognitiv. Before joining Kognitiv, Michael was the CMO of omnichannel marketing powerhouse St. Joseph Communications, where he led cross-disciplinary teams to pioneer new ways of innovating, socializing, growth hacking, and creating measurable change in the ever-shifting digital marketplace. Michael is also the Co-Founder of Travai, a next-generation contextual UX travel company acquired by Kognitiv. Michael is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, marketer and YouTube creator, who has provided a unique blend of limbic, strategic and creative direction for a diverse host of international companies including Google, BMW, FedEx, Porsche, Air France, Bacardi, MTV, Viacom, HBO, Universal, Warner Bros, Sony, Nike, Thomson Reuters, IKEA, Walmart and Diageo.


Robert Bowerman

Chief Technology Officer

As CTO, Robert is responsible for overseeing the architecture, development, and delivery of the Kognitiv Collaborative Commerce Network. Robert previously was SVP, Enterprise Software, Architecture and Development at BlackBerry where he was instrumental in rebuilding its enterprise software portfolio. Throughout his career, he has focused on the realization of large scale network and SaaS software. He holds a Ph.D. in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo.


Adam Heller

General Counsel & VP, Corporate Development

As General Counsel and VP, Corporate Development, Adam is responsible for overseeing Kognitiv’s legal matters and the execution of strategic transactions, including acquisitions and key partnerships. Adam previously practiced corporate law at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, a top Canadian law firm specializing in complex transactions and mergers & acquisitions, corporate/commercial, financing and capital markets matters.


Sarah Tritsaris

SVP, Human Resources

With over 15 years living and working internationally across Australia, Germany, Hong Kong and the United States, Sarah brings her global expertise and leadership to drive Kognitiv’s People function. Prior to joining Kognitiv, Sarah held senior executive positions at DHL Supply Chain and Williams Lea Tag leading the HR function at country, regional and global levels. Sarah has focused her career in all areas with a specialty on Talent Management. Sarah is responsible for setting the people strategy, driving a unified culture, bringing in the right talent and supporting the organization to deliver on its growth objectives. Sarah has been involved in mentoring programs over the last 3 years through various organizations and is passionate about supporting upcoming talent.


Ashwin Kamlani's PhotoCressida Sergeant's PhotoDavid Chestler's Photo


Ashwin Kamlani

EVP, Hospitality

Ashwin is the founder of Regatta Travel Solutions, which was the leading online booking solution for hotels and Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs). Ashwin started his career as a consultant with Accenture and PWC. Upon receiving his Masters of Management in Hospitality from Cornell University, he embarked on a seven year career with Sol Melia Hotels & Resorts where he became the Global VP of E-Commerce & Distribution. Ashwin manages Kognitiv’s Hospitality Division.


Cressida Sergeant

SVP, UK & Europe

Upon graduating with an Honours degree in Business from Brunel University, Cressida joined as part of their travel team. From that beginning, she has enjoyed success over the last 15 years in the online travel world, leading Sales and Commercial teams with UK household brands. She joins Kognitiv to manage sales for the UK and Europe after her success as a Senior Director at Expedia involved in new business sales for EMEA.


David Chestler

SVP Business Development, Hospitality

David is a hospitality and travel executive with more than 28 years in the industry with such notable companies as SiteMinder, Pegasus Solutions (Utell), Birch Street Systems, RateGain and Sceptre Hospitality Resources (SHR). At Kognitiv, David is focused on Business Development for the global hospitality industry.

Sales & Marketing

Silvio D'Addario's PhotoGarry Winterburn's PhotoLindsey Winterburn's PhotoKevin Coles' Photo


Silvio D’Addario

SVP, Operations Americas

Silvio is the co-founder of Travel Nation. Prior to that role he was the COO at Rogers Centre, Toronto’s largest sports and events venue. Silvio started his career as a commercial lawyer at McCarthy Tetrault, one of Canada’s largest law firms. Silvio holds responsibilities for the operations of Travel Nation within Kognitiv.


Garry Winterburn

SVP, Client Management

Garry is co-founder of CTS, the leading provider of fulfilment for outsourced travel bookings and brands. Garry has spent an illustrious 30 years in the travel industry from his roots in the high street to the corporate world holding senior positions at Airtours and Manchester Airport before embracing his entrepreneurial spirit and founding Au logistics and then CTS. Garry is a respected business leader and believes in the power of relationship building through honesty and integrity. Within the Kognitiv Corporation, Garry is responsible for client management and the operational integration of new business on a global basis.


Lindsey Winterburn

SVP, Customer Contact Centers

Lindsey is co-founder of CTS and having spent more than 25 years in the travel industry is recognised for being instrumental in the successful growth of the Virtual Call Center model for blue chip brands. Focusing on delivering exceptional seamless sales and service levels through highly trained, knowledgeable, multi-lingual customer contact operations across the UK and Europe. Lindsey will be responsible for Kognitiv’s Contact Centers on a Global basis offering a 24/7 operation covering a multitude of languages.


Kevin Coles

VP, Travel Products

As VP, Travel Products, Kevin will have overall responsibility for the procurement of travel products at Kognitiv. With over 28 years of experience in the travel industry, Kevin has achieved success in senior positions at Travel Counsellor, The Global Travel Group and Dnata Travel (Emirates Group). Notably, as Director of Product & Purchasing for Stella Travel Services UK Travelbag and Travel2, he led the global contracting, commercial and product strategy for these groups.


Andy Speight's PhotoKlaus Niederacher's PhotoMax Stevens-Guille's PhotoMergim Kacija's Photo


Andy Speight

Managing Director, Bournemouth Product Design Center

After spending more than 25 years in the travel industry Andy co-founded Digital Trip in 2007 with the aim of offering a comprehensive set of online tools to empower travel companies large and small, enabling them to compete and become more effective in the crowded online travel market place.


Klaus Niederacher

Managing Director, Vienna Product Design Center

Klaus is the co-founder of Seekda, which develops booking solutions for the European hospitality industry. Educated as a graduate engineer in computer technology at Technical University Vienna he put Seekda on the map of the European independent hotel industry. Klaus oversees the global hotel capacity network and eCommerce infrastructure.


Max Stevens-Guille

Managing Director, KogX

Max is the managing director of KogX, Kognitiv’s advanced R&D team, which is building collaborative commerce technologies. Previously, Max was CTO of ComQi Corporation, a leader in delivering in-store digital marketing and IoT solutions for global brands including Ford, Victoria’s Secret, Gap and H&M. Also, as a technology and management consultant, he worked with a broad range of enterprise customers in financial services, retail, transportation and logistics. Earlier in his career, Max co-founded Maptuit Corporation, a SaaS provider of location based and logistics solutions, since acquired by Verizon Telematics. He holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Guelph and is a Certified Management Consultant.


Mergim Kacija

SVP, eCommerce

Mergim spent the first 15 years of his career on Wall Street and brings to Kognitiv his expertise of algorithmic trading and theoretical pricing. After obtaining a degree in Computer Science at Northern Illinois University, he served in various management roles at TD Securities, Bloomberg and S&P Global Markets. Mergim now leads the eCommerce and Demand Generation team at Kognitiv ensuring that every customer is optimally using their data to maximize asset return.

Darren Swan's PhotoHolger Lausen's Photo


Darren Swan

Chief Architect, Bournemouth Product Design Center

Darren graduated with an Honours degree in Software Engineering from Sheffield Hallam University and has spent the last 16 years developing industry leading travel technology solutions. As a Digital Trip co-founder Darren has been instrumental in building the core eVolve CMS platform and developing the booking engine that handles hundreds of millions of live transactions between clients and suppliers.


Holger Lausen

Chief Architect, Vienna Product Design Center

Holger is the co-founder and CTO of Seekda. As an MSc in computer science at STI in Innsbruck, Austria, he pioneered the semantic network that currently underpins Kognitiv’s global hotel capacity network. Holger leads Kognitiv’s hospitality product engineering.


Peter Schwartz's PhotoJohn Bowey's PhotoMark Rider's PhotoRick Nathan's Photo


Peter Schwartz

Executive Chairman

Peter is Executive Chairman and Founder of Kognitiv; formerly Chairman and CEO of Descartes Systems Group (NASDAQ.DSGX, DSG.TO); co-founded Laurence Capital, which has invested in some of Canada’s greatest entrepreneurs; co-founded Communitech, a Waterloo regional technology hub; and he was named to Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 at the age of 31.


John Bowey

Chairman Emeritus, Deloitte LLP

John previously served as the Tax Practice Leader and Regional Managing Partner for South Western Ontario. In addition to his Canadian responsibilities, John was a member of the global Board of Deloitte and the global governance and audit committees. John also serves as Chairman of the Board of Economical Insurance Company, Chairman of the Board of Governors of Wilfrid Laurier University, and is a former Chairman of the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.


Mark Rider

Executive Chairman, Timeplay Entertainment Inc.

With a focus on the needs of the corporate travel sector, Mark Rider founded The Rider Travel Group in 1982. The company grew from modest billings of $1 million to over $600 million in 1999. Since the successful divestiture of The Rider Group, Mark has been an active angel investor, sits on the board of Waterloo-based Intelligent Mechatronic System, and is the Executive Chairman of Timeplay Entertainment Inc.


Rick Nathan

Managing Director, Kensington Capital Partners

In addition to serving on multiple boards, Rick is the Co-Chair of the Canadian Innovation Exchange, and a member of the Small and Medium Enterprise Committee (SMEC) established by the Ontario Securities Commission. Rick served as the President and Chair of CVCA – Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association from 2005 – 2012. Previously, Rick was a founding partner of Brightspark Ventures, Managing Director of Goodmans Venture Group and led the Technology Business Group at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. Rick holds a B.A. (Computer Science) from Dartmouth College and an LL.B. from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law.

Mark Lerohl's PhotoKirstine Stewart's PhotoKaren Basian's Photo


Mark Lerohl

President & CEO, Radar Capital

Radar Capital is a private investment firm focused on making growth equity investments. Prior to Radar Capital, Mark spent over 15 years in the finance industry, more than a decade of which was dedicated to investment banking. Before Radar, Mark focused on servicing Canadian private equity firms with Macquarie Capital Markets Canada. During his co-chairmanship as a Board Member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto, Mark chaired The Big Night Out, an annual charity gala event that raised over $1.2M. Mark holds an MBA from the Ivey Business School at Western University, and a BSc. in math and economics from the University of Alberta. He is also a CFA Charterholder.


Kirstine Stewart

Chief Strategy Officer, Diply

Kirstine Stewart is the Chief Strategy Officer for Diply, a content platform with over 1 billion monthly views and 34 million monthly unique US visitors and ranked as the #16 US website by traffic—only one below Instagram. It recently ranked #1 on Deloitte’s Fast50 tech growth companies in Canada. Kirstine is a media executive, thought leader and influencer, formerly the Executive Vice President, Head of English Services at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (“CBC”), and Vice President of Media at Twitter. Kirstine is a leader in traditional and new media and entertainment in Canada and the U.S. She excels at bringing partnerships and content together in new ways to grow businesses. As Vice President of Media at Twitter, Kirstine oversaw North American partnerships across all verticals, including television, sports, gaming, news and music. She previously served as Managing Director for Twitter Canada, leading Canadian operations as well as advertising business and partnerships. As the Executive Vice President of CBC’s English Services, Kirstine oversaw the network’s English-language radio, television and digital programming and operations. Kirstine earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto, and is a graduate of the Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, as well as the Transition to Leadership Program Young Global Voices at the Oxford Saïd Business School.


Karen Basian

President, KB Capital Management Inc.

A proven, decisive and experienced senior executive, director and advisor, with over 25 years’ in the consumer products, financial services and technology sectors. Karen is President of KB Capital Management Inc. (Strategy and Advisory Services) and a Partner with 3NP Asset Management (Real Estate); Karen serves on the Board of Directors of goeasy (TSE:GSY) where she chairs the HR and Compensation Committee; BookJane (on-demand healthcare staffing) where she Chairs the Audit Committee; Kognitiv (collaborative commerce network) and as Managing Director of Newtopia, an innovative personalised health company. Previously, Karen was Chief Global Strategy and Business Development Officer for McCain Foods Ltd. An innovative thinker with deep financial acumen, Karen was recognized, in 2000 as one of Canada’s ‘Top 40 Under 40’ for her work as the CFO & SVP, Corporate Services for 724 Solutions (NASDAQ/TSX). Prior roles include SVP Strategy for Frito-Lay North America; Manager with Bain and Company; and International Tax Specialist with Deloitte. Karen’s community and philanthropic efforts include her advisory work with Baycrest, UHN, Robarts Research Institute and FINCA Canada; and the founding of the Hive Foundation and the Jewish Women’s Venture Philanthropy Fund. Karen is a CPA, CA; an MBA from IMEDE, Lausanne, Switzerland and Honors Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario.

Board of Directors