Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board
This year has been another one for the history books: a year in which the worst of times brought out the best of Alimentation Couche-Tard — the best in our company and the best in our people as they showed outstanding care and commitment to each other, our customers, and the business. In the 42 years since founding Couche-Tard, I have never been prouder than I am this year.
A year ago, I was filled with optimism that we were seeing the waning days of the pandemic, and that we would soon be getting back to a new normal. However, this year was marked by difficult surges of Covid-19 variants followed by a tragic war and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, directly impacting our Eastern European and Scandinavian business units, and heartbreaking to all.
Yet, in the face of this incredible disruption, we had a year of incredible achievements and recognition. I must admit that I was moved to tears when I found out that ACT was named to Forbes’ 2021 list of the ‘’World’s Best Employers.” We stood out as the only Canadian retailer among the 750 companies recognized worldwide. That was soon followed with ACT receiving the 2022 Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award. This is the first time that we have been honored by Gallup, which recognizes the world’s most engaged workplace cultures, and we are the only convenience retailer included in this year’s honorees. Following the Gallup announcement, I wrote to my leadership team that “I was dreaming of seeing such a day when we would be recognized for our culture of empowerment and focus on our people.”
How did we grow from one store into this great global company with award-winning team members, record financial performance, and always playing to win? By remaining steadfast in our focus on the business and doing the right thing for our people and our customers. In the face of escalating Covid cases, we kept our stores safe and our team members healthy and vaccinated. In the face of war and its devastating human impact, we suspended our operations in Russia and cared for tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees by offering food, beverages, housing, and generous contributions to the Red Cross.
We did not let this year slow down our innovation or sustainability progress. In fact, we went full speed into expanding our data analytics and frictionless payment capabilities, creating pipelines for advancement in our diverse workforce, and proudly remaining one of the world leaders in electric vehicle charging solutions, as we laid the groundwork for the future of mobility in North America.
This was also the year in which we ended the special voting rights of ACT’s founders. However, my commitment and leadership of the business has not changed, and I am more confident than ever that our size, our winning culture and strategy, and the structures that we have put in place, both at the executive management level and from a governance standpoint, are serving the business well. They clearly did this year, and I am confident they will for years to come.