When it’s time for the CEO to be ‘brutally honest’

You’re on a highway. Fuel is low. You’re numb from sitting in one position, and it’s time for coffee. You need to find an exit.
When “a graceful off-ramp opportunity” presented itself last April, Dave Kroetsch, then CEO of Aeryon Labs, knew it was time to take his foot off the accelerator and ease to the right.
Kroetsch, who co-founded Aeryon in his garage more than a decade ago, decided to step down as CEO and instead take on the mantle of Chief Technology Officer. It was not an easy decision. But in his heart, he knew it was the right decision.
“You have to be brutally honest with yourself,” Kroetsch said Tuesday, speaking at a Communitech-hosted lunchtime event at the Tannery called Pizza with the Prez, an occasional series where tech leaders talk about their journey and that of their company.
Aeryon Labs is a Waterloo-based company that has morphed from a literal mom-and-pop shop – at one time, Kroetsch’s parents worked for the firm  – to a thriving entity of 175 full-time employees who make high-end unmanned aerial vehicles – drones – primarily for law enforcement agencies and military use.
Aeryon’s evolution, which included a CDN$60 million investment from Boston-based private equity firm Summit Partners in October

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