A former Deputy Minister at the Treasury Board of Canada, President and CEO, who now leads Microsoft’s global strategies for government cloud adoption. Prior to this he led the national digital transformation practice at a Big Four firm, Alex Benay is an expert in the digital economy, digital strategy, large project delivery, and digital policy. Alex is known for his ability to lead and execute complex transformations, uniting diverse stakeholders from multiple levels and industries, often with divergent interests, to drive results quickly. Fluent in English and French, as well as a published author, he is a recognized global leader in digital transformation with senior level experience in both the public and private sectors. Alex serves on the board of the World Wide Web Foundation, an international not-for-profit organization established in 2009 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of the web). The World Wide Web Foundation, is the leading advocate for a web as a public good and basic right for everyone and its initiatives include the Contract for the Web, the Alliance for Affordable Internet, and the Women’s Rights Online network, For more information, see https://webfoundation.org/. Finally, he is also the co-founder (alongside Jim Balsillie), of the Canadian CIO Strategy Council, a group of 70+ CIOs from various industries, which helps to shape the national technology agenda of Canada, including national technology standards to increase global competitiveness in banks, governments, and other sectors.
Background: Alex currently serves as Global Lead, Government Azure Strategy at Microsoft where he helps governments around the world adopt cloud technologies. Prior to this, he was a Partner with KPMG, where he led the national digital transformation practice helping governments and Fortune 500 companies in multiple industries to pivot to the digital economy in the areas of technology, people, and strategy.
Previously, Alex was a Deputy Minister at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Chief Information Officer of Canada, where he managed a $20b+ (CDN) budget and led the government’s plans in areas of technology, people and business change. The role is fundamental to the country’s national digital agenda and to a strong Canadian digital economy, and includes oversight of digital standards, policies, and guidelines, as well as key initiatives in artificial intelligence, national privacy, and cyber-security. In addition, he was responsible for overseeing all large transformation programs across 43 departments in the Government of Canada.
Prior to his appointment as Deputy Minister, Alex was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation, a federal Crown Corporation. In this role, he managed over $400M in capital projects, re-launching a national museum in record time, as well as pioneering new digital partnerships with companies such as Nintendo, which produced global games on its platform using Corporation content and expertise.
From 2009 to 2014, Alex was a Vice-President at OpenText, Canada’s largest software company, where he oversaw several portfolios ranging from industry marketing to global public sector sales. Throughout his time with the company, he played a leadership role in Canada’s digital industry, as well as in promoting the global shift to digital in organizations such as the G20, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Olympics. Before joining OpenText, Alex managed various teams and programs at Global Affairs Canada where he focused on international trade and development in the information, communications and technology sector.
In 2018, Alex was named to Apolitical’s international list of the 100 most influential people in digital government. He is also the author of Canadian Failures, an anthology of essays from prominent Canadians openly talking about failure, and Government Digital, an in-depth look at how modern governments are tackling digital change.