Chris Albinson, a seasoned tech investor and longtime champion for Canadian innovators in Silicon Valley, has been chosen to lead Communitech as its next CEO.

Albinson will succeed Iain Klugman, who led the growth of Communitech from a relatively unknown, local industry association into an internationally regarded innovation hub over his 17-year tenure.

The new CEO, who grew up in Kingston, Ont., studied at Western University in London, Ont. and has worked in the San Francisco Bay Area for close to 20 years, will take up his duties on May 17. He will work remotely until he and his family arrange a move to Waterloo Region from California in the coming months.

In-depth: Q+A with Chris Albinson

“I’ve always deeply admired Communitech and the work it does to support Canadian firms and the Canadian ecosystem,” Albinson said in a news release issued today by Communitech. “Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, productivity growth and technology adoption are going to be absolutely essential to Canadian economic success. I’m so excited to return home to help Communitech and Canada drive an economic resurgence rooted in innovation.”

In addition to deep experience investing in founders of companies at various stages of growth – 37 of them Canadian – Albinson is widely known in tech circles for his role as co-founder of the C100. The San Francisco-based non-profit launched in 2009 to help Canadian-led tech businesses grow internationally through mentorship, partnership and investment.

Numerous Communitech member companies have taken advantage of the C100’s help in making key connections in Silicon Valley and beyond over the past decade.

In September of 2019, Klugman announced he would step down as CEO when his contract expired in January of 2021. He extended his stay at the request of Communitech’s board of directors last year, after the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

The departing CEO had high praise for his successor and said Communitech remains in good hands.

“I’m incredibly proud to have led this great organization for the past 17 years,” Klugman said. “In passing the torch to such an accomplished Canadian innovator, I have total confidence in Communitech’s future. Waterloo Region and Canada can count on Chris to boldly take Communitech from strength to even greater strength.”

Dave Caputo, Chair of Communitech’s board and founder of Trusscore, helped lead the lengthy and comprehensive search for Klugman’s successor, with help from executive recruitment firm Spencer Stuart. Caputo cited many factors behind that search ending with the appointment of Albinson.

“In his role as CEO, Chris brings a treasure trove of experience, insights and relationships back home to Communitech and to Canada,” Caputo said. “His proven excellence in venture capital, growth coaching and his lifelong commitment to supporting Canada’s innovation economy make him a perfect fit for this role.”