Akhurst Welcomes New CEO as Former President Retires

John Sotham, a senior executive and former CFO of OK Tire Canada, has been named new president and CEO of Akhurst Machinery. The news comes following the announced retirement of former CEO and president, Eric Stebner. Throughout his 23-year tenure with the Montreal machinery industry-leading company, Stebner implemented a number of palpable changes and guided the business toward growth. He led the expansion of the Akhurst Ontario facility and the addition of a new manufacturing branch in Anaheim, California. The branch was developed to support Akhurst’s growing customer base across North America and offers a fully functional showroom and warehouse for their machine inventory.

Stebner was instrumental in the company’s transition into its fourth generation in 2016. He is proficient in operations management, and business planning and was dedicated to Akhurst. In November 2018, Stebner was awarded an FCPA for his contribution to enhancing the visibility, reputation, and credibility of accounting as a profession by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia.  “Although he will be missed by the staff, owners and vendors, we are excited for Stebner to have more time for his passion of cycling. He intends to take a number of cycling trips at home and abroad over the next coming months,” said the Akhurst family.Sotham brings tenacious leadership and mentoring skills to his new role. The British Columbia native is ready for the challenge and eager to start. “John has some big shoes to fill but we know the company is in good hands under his leadership,” a statement from the Akhurst team reads.

Akhurst Machinery was founded in 1930 and originally sold industrial equipment to sawmill businesses across British Columbia. To date, Akhurst is one of the world’s leading distributors of woodworking equipment and technologies and has over 80 employees in over five offices across Canada. In 2020, the company was awarded the Family Enterprise of the Year Award (FEYA) for British Columbia. “By bringing their family values to work and focusing on excellent service, they have earned many satisfied customers through the years,” states the online FEYA announcement. “The Akhurst family has also worked hard to provide a progressive environment where its staff (members) are treated as an extension of the family. Emphasizing the importance of teamwork, they have created a culture of trust and mutual respect and are proud of the many long-term employees of the company, noted the Akhurst statement.

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