On Christmas Eve, surrounded by family and close friends, past President and CEO at Canadian Black Book, Kathy Ward passed away.
After a courageous fight, she eventually lost a multiyear battle against cancer.
Kathy, a Canadian auto industry icon, retired from Canadian Black Book in September of 2016. She was a mainstay in the company for 36 years and President and CEO for the last ten years of her storied and pioneering career.
“Kathy was responsible for delivering Canadian Black Book into the digital age,” says Brad Rome, President, Canadian Black Book. “Kathy, and the Ward family have given so much to the auto industry in Canada. We are going to remember that, build on it and we will miss her dearly,” he adds.
Under Kathy Ward’s leadership, Canadian Black Book evolved through the emergence of mass technological advancement, an uncertain Canadian auto industry during the recession, and solidified its position as Canada’s trusted provider of vehicle values.
As the business evolved from predominantly a publishing house into a provider of data electronically, Kathy began to emerge as the driver. Her father, Bill Ward the company’s founder, became comfortable in the backseat, knowing she was better suited to bring the company into the age of technology. Data and the demand for residual values began to surge in the banking and insurance worlds, and Kathy took over. In 2006 she took the reigns as President and CEO.
In 2010, Ward oversaw a paradigm shift at Canadian Black Book, with the release of its data to consumers through CanadianBlackBook.com. In 2015, Ward negotiated the sale of Canadian Black Book to its new parent company out of the U.S.—Hearst Business Media.
Above all, the accomplishment that Ward always held highest was her ability to prosper as a female at the helm of an automotive company. Her legacy in the industry will serve to demonstrate that women need not fear entering this space. Things have changed since her early days going from dealer to dealer selling, yet Kathy always believed the industry has an abundance of room for more women to grow in automotive and succeed as she did.
Details regarding a Celebration of Kathy’s Life will be announced at a later date.