Management 2018-11-28T14:17:40+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 PhotoKaren Basian's PhotoMichael Chase's PhotoJonathan Carroll's Photo

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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.

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Karen Basian

Chief Operating Officer, Board Director

Karen joined the Board of Kognitiv in January of 2018 and as of July 1, 2018 has stepped into the Chief Operating Officer role. With over 25+ plus years Karen has split her time between consumer packaged goods and fintech. Prior to Kognitiv Karen was 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; 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.

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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.

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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.

Robert Bowerman's PhotoSarah Tritsaris's PhotoAndy Speight's Photo

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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.

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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.

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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.

Ashwin Kamlani's PhotoStephanie Bird's PhotoSilvio D'Addario's PhotoMergim Kacija's Photo

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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.

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Stephanie Bird

SVP, Operations

Stephanie is a CPA, CA with a penchant for challenge and change. She brings her global experience in Finance, Risk Management, M&A, Strategy, Process Improvement, Regulatory and Compliance in a variety of different private and public multinational companies to her role as SVP Operations. Stephanie will be driving Kognitiv’s approach to seamless, scalable and sustainable operations with a particular view to quality, compliance, performance and risk management as the organization scales for growth. Her previous lives were with G Adventures as VP Finance, Just Energy as CRO and Andersen as Senior Manager.

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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.

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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 PhotoKlaus Niederacher's PhotoHolger Lausen's PhotoMax Stevens-Guille's Photo

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Michael Kline's PhotoKevin Coles' Photo

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Michael Kline

Head of Strategic Partnerships

Throughout almost 20 years as a General Counsel, I have been valued as a trusted, strategic and practical, legal and business leader. I have extensive commercial, business growth and management experience. I am a decision-maker who values business processes including risk management. Using a creative solutions-oriented approach, I obtain results. Colleagues know me as a passionate service provider, business partner, and cultural leader. I enjoy growing entrepreneurial businesses, through complex issues management and collaboration. My satisfaction arises from working with dedicated business professionals and learning something new every day.

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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.

Board of Directors

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 PhotoKaren Basian's Photo

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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.

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Karen Basian

Chief Operating Officer, Board Director

Karen joined the Board of Kognitiv in January of 2018 and as of July 1, 2018 has stepped into the Chief Operating Officer role. With over 25+ plus years Karen has split her time between consumer packaged goods and fintech. Prior to Kognitiv Karen was 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; 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.