Gregory Roberts — Atlantic Business Magazine’s 2024 CEO of the Year

Posted on June 30, 2024 | By Geoff Meeker | 0 Comments

 

The title of CEO of the Year is awarded to the Top 50 CEO award winner who most excels across all judging categories: corporate growth, industry innovation and community involvement.

After winning four back-to-back Top 50 CEO awards, from 2014 to 2017, Greg Roberts declined all subsequent nominations. Until this year.

In an interview following his announcement as CEO of the Year for the entire Atlantic region, Roberts said he hadn’t accepted any nominations in the interim because he hadn’t earned them. A fifth win would have landed the CEO of MB International Brands (MBIB) in Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEO Hall of Fame.

“I felt I was still learning a lot and that too many stores still needed enhancements. I decided that before I apply again, we really needed to live what we were saying and have a great story to tell.”

What a story it is.

MBIB has achieved growth of 268 per cent in just three years and is on track to double that by 2025. They have 56 stores currently under construction. They have more than 1,000 people working in management or stores owned directly by MBIB, an increase of 198 per cent over three years ago. As well, the franchisee stores employ more than 6,000 staff, an increase of about 260 per cent.

Some of that growth, Roberts is quick to qualify, is inflated by MBIB’s acquisition of the Fat Bastard Burrito brand and stores last year. “But still, growth in Mary Brown’s has been exponential. If you put the two brands together, we are one of the fastest growing in Canada. We were the last time I checked.”

But let’s get back to Roberts and his need “to live what we were saying.” This is significant. Back in 2017, he was making leading edge—some might say radical—managerial statements.

In that year’s Top 50 CEO Nominee Information Form, for example, Roberts said he was working to build “enlightened capitalism” across his organization. He believed a business should pay the return on investment (ROI) to employees rather than investors or shareholders.

It’s the type of philosophy that won’t fly in a publicly traded company, which is why MBIB is firmly under Roberts singular ownership.

 

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