LAVAL, Quebec -- Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. CEO Alain Bouchard was named Canada's Outstanding CEO of the Year for 2012 by Bennett Jones, founding sponsor Caldwell Partners and media sponsor National Post.
According to Bennett Jones, Bouchard was honored for several reasons, including Couche-Tard's $2.6 billion acquisition of Norway's Statoil Fuel & Retail ASA this year, as well as double-digit earnings growth and robust same-store sales growth.
"When you're a retailer, you have to differentiate yourself and that's more difficult than it sounds in our business," Bouchard told the Financial Post. "We all sell the same cigarettes, the same newspapers. So that's why I started our employees thinking about, 'What are we famous for?' And that's why, in our company, everyone is trying to be famous for something. It works."
Bouchard has had a storied career. He began by operating a single convenience store in Saint Jérŏme, Quebec, and turned it into an international network of approximately 12,000 stores, including licensee locations.
"We are delighted to honor Mr. Bouchard and Alimentation Couche-Tard with this distinguished award," Hugh MacKinnon, chairman and CEO of Bennett Jones and an advisory member of Canada's CEO of the year, told the news outlet. "This is truly an innovative international success story that serves as a tremendous example of Canadian entrepreneurial spirit and achievement. We are proud to have Mr. Bouchard as our 2012 CEO of the Year."
Bouchard, born in 1949 in Chicoutimi, Quebec, credited tough times he faced as a child for his success. As a young boy, his father lost his job.
"Even at 10, I dreamed of owning a big building with a 'B' on the side of it," Bouchard told the news source. "'B' for Bouchard. 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 as risk of losing everything like my father did."
Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. is the parent company of Circle K in the United States.