LAVAL, Quebec -- Alain Bouchard, CEO of Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., has been named Canada's Outstanding CEO of 2012. The Outstanding CEO award is presented annually by law firm Bennett Jones, founding sponsor executive-search specialist Caldwell Partners and media sponsor The National Post.
The award cited Bouchard as the "exceptional CEO of the year." His highly profitable chain is "an international success story embodying the entrepreneurial spirit," it said, according to a Post report.
Alain BouchardThe award committee also cited his leadership in growing Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard from a single depanneur (convenience store) in Saint Jerome, Quebec, into an international network of 12,000 stores (including licensees) with revenues of more than $19.2 billion last year.
Bouchard, born in Chicoutimi, Quebec, in 1949, endured some trying years as a young boy after his father lost his job. "Even at 10, I dreamed of owning a big building with a big B on the side of it. B for Bouchard," he told The Financial Post Magazine. "This was a childhood dream, but I was consumed by it for a long time. I wanted to build something strong so I wasn't at risk of losing everything like my father did."
After working for Perrette Dairy Ltee. and Provigo, he founded Couche-Tard in 1980, eventually buying out his two former employers along with other companies, including Silcorp Ltd., which owned 980 stores operating under the Mac's, Mike's Mart and Beckers banners in Ontario and Western Canada, and in 2003 The Circle K Corp. from ConocoPhillips Co., which at the time operated 1,663 Circle K corporate stores in the United States and had franchising or licensing relationships with 627 additional stores in the United States and worldwide.
Couche-Tard's network currently includes approximately 6,100 c-stores throughout North America, including about 4,500 stores with fuel. It has agreements for the supply of motor fuel to 357 sites operated by independent operators. Its North-American network consists of 13 business units, including nine in the United States covering 40 states and the District of Columbia (under the Circle K banner) and four in Canada covering all 10 provinces (under the Couche-Tard and Mac's banners). Through its acquisition of Statoil Fuel & Retail, Couche-Tard also operates a broad retail network across Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark), Poland, the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and Russia with about 2,300 stores and sites.
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