How Purolator CEO Patrick Nangle returned to Canada after 20 years abroad

“I had let my Canadian network lapse. Coming back was a challenge”

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Career Path, a continuing CB series in which top innovators and entrepreneurs explain how they got there
Patrick Nangle

Purolator Inc. president and CEO Patrick Nangle

Patrick Nangle knew he wanted to lead a major Canadian firm with a big international business. He spent nearly 20 years abroad to gain the necessary experience to lead a courier that ships to 210 countries.

University of British Columbia, 1984–1986

MBA, International Business

“I did my MBA to help me participate in Canadian companies that do international business. Getting out of Canada and getting that experience abroad was what I wanted to do, but I was gone for quite a bit longer than I expected.”

READ: Canadian Business MBA Guide 2013 »

Moore Corp., 1986–1993

“I was hired by the man who led all of the printing company’s European activity and sent to Switzerland. When he hired me, he said, ‘Look, let’s get you some good experience because I’m going to need you.’ I’ve always reported to very senior people.”

Ascom Mailing Systems, 1993–2002

CEO

“I was still in my early 30s, but I needed to be closer to products and customers—out where business is happening and not in headquarters. By chance, there was a need for a leader at Ascom’s Canadian subsidiary. With very short notice, I found myself parachuted in. Honestly, I knew very little about the technology sector, but I learned along the way I could do it. I thought I was back in Canada to stay, but two years later, they invited me back to Switzerland to lead this much larger global enterprise.”

Neopost, 2002–2008

COO, North America & Japan

Digital dispatch systems, 2010–2012

President

“After being outside the country for 20 years, I had let my Canadian network lapse. Coming back was a challenge. I was at a distance and getting great experience, but that wasn’t seen in Canada. My original objective was to lead a significant Canadian company, but no one was waiting for me to come back.”

PNI Digital media, 2012

Chief Operating Officer

Purolator, 2013–Present

President & CEO

“I wasn’t looking for a job, and I got a call from a recruiter looking for a CEO for Purolator. Before joining Purolator, the biggest company I led was 1,500 people; now I lead 12,000. Based on experience, I was confident enough to say yes. I still had butterflies, but a few less than I did with some of my earlier career changes.”

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