CIIRDF Appoints Israeli High-Tech Industry Veteran as New Chair of the Board

OTTAWA, Ontario and TEL AVIV, Israel; June 12, 2017 – Dr. Henri Rothschild, CEO of the Canada Israel Industrial R&D Foundation (CIIRDF), is pleased to announce that CIIRDF’s binational Board of Directors appointed Mr. Aharon Aharon, CEO of the new Israel Innovation Authority, as the new Chair of the CIIRDF Board of Directors.  He replaces Mr. Avi Hasson, Israel’s former Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Economy who has served in this capacity for more than six years. Mr. Aharon becomes the sixth Israeli leader to undertake this critical role with CIIRDF within the foundation’s 22-year history.

Mr. Aharon brings more than 25 years of top level expertise and high-tech industry experience to CIIRDF and the bilateral community it supports.  This includes extensive international collaboration through his management roles with well-established multinational companies, and a host of innovative start-ups. Most recently, he served as CEO of Apple’s Israeli operations, helping its launch in November 2011, and then growing the company to over 900 employees. Prior to Apple, he held executive roles with technology companies including Camero, Discretix Technologies, Seabridge and IBM’s Haifa Research Labs.  His illustrious career began following his completion of two degrees from the Technion, Israel’s renowned Institute of Technology, and after having served in the Israeli Defense Forces’ Elite Intelligence Unit 8200.

Mr. Aharon undertakes the role of CIIRDF Chair following his appointment as the first CEO of the newly created Israel Innovation Authority. With responsibility for Israel’s innovation policies and programs, the Israel Innovation Authority, an independent agency, replaces the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) which had been part of Israel’s Ministry of Economy. Consistent with the mandate of the former OCS, the Authority will continue to serve as the epicentre of planning for strategic positioning of Israel’s technological ecosystem, including promoting global partnerships with key economies, including Canada.

“I am very happy to follow in the footsteps of previous Israeli Chief Scientists in assuming responsibilities of chairman of the bi-national CIIRDF Board of Directors. We are delighted with the CIIRDF record to date but will make every attempt to achieve even greater results in the years ahead. To that end, I will work with our Canadian government partners to strengthen and renew the current board as well as the CIIRDF resources,“ said Mr. Aharon.

“We are thrilled to welcome a leader with Mr. Aharon’s skills and experience as the new Chair of the CIIRDF Board of Directors,” said Dr. Henri Rothschild, CEO of CIIRDF.  “Much like the Israeli Chief Scientists who preceded him in this important role, Mr. Aharon’s background is ideally suited to the role and responsibilities of CIIRDF.  He brings in-depth technological expertise, proven performance and leadership, as well as a thorough understanding of technology-based economic growth from both an Israeli and global perspective.  He will bring these capabilities to bear as CIIRDF positions itself to deliver ever increasing economic results for both Canada and Israel.

“Israel is truly proud of its scientific and technological achievements,” said H.E. Nimrod Barkan, Ambassador of Israel to Canada.  “The strategic appointment of the CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority as Chair of the Board of Directors underscores the importance of CIIRDF to the State of Israel as a trusted, flagship instrument of bilateral S&T collaborations, and economic relations more broadly.  We look forward to having CIIRDF continue to play an instrumental role in building Canada-Israel technological and business partnerships in priority areas such as energy, cyber security, biomedical and environmental technologies.”

Download the complete CIIRDF Press Release.