Auto industry icon Kathy Ward dies

Kathy Ward, past President and CEO at Canadian Black Book, passed away on Christmas Eve after she courageously fought a multi-year battle against cancer. She was 60 years old.

The Canadian auto industry icon retired in September 2016 after 36 years with the company. Under her leadership, Canadian Black Book evolved during a period of major technological advancement. She also helped the company move through a recession and oversaw a paradigm shift when Canadian Black Book released its data to consumers — among many other notable achievements.

“Kathy was a big presence. Her greatest strength was building relationships. She knew virtually everyone in the industry and had a way of making meaningful connections to the benefit of Canadian Black Book,” said Brad Rome, President, Canadian Black Book, in an email to Canadian auto dealer. “Kathy modernized Canadian Black Book and led the company with confidence through the recession, coming out even stronger. She brought that confidence with her everywhere and really showed us all that the automotive industry was not designed solely for men.”

Ward’s many achievements and ability to prosper as a female at the helm of the automotive company may serve as an example to women everywhere that they need not fear entering this industry. It is also an attestation to what women in the automotive space can accomplish.

“The team at Canadian Black Book will sincerely miss Kathy Ward. She was a great leader, colleague and friend,” said Rome, adding that “Kathy left Canadian Black Book in top shape, and we continue to build on the momentum that she helped create. Her legacy is visible through the enormous contributions she made to her charitable causes, this company and the Canadian auto industry.”

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