Contractor|Energy|Gas|Health|Mining|Oil And Gas|Oil-and-gas|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Safety
Contractor|Energy|Gas|Health|Mining|Oil And Gas|Oil-and-gas|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Safety

Suncor names Kruger CEO amid Elliott pressure, safety overhaul

22nd February 2023

By: Bloomberg


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Suncor Energy named Rich Kruger as its new CEO, ending a seven-month search that started after a string of worker deaths and pressure from activist investor Elliott Investment Management drove out the previous leader.

The appointment of Kruger, a former CEO of Exxon Mobil’s Canadian unit Imperial Oil, is effective April 3, Suncor said Tuesday in a statement.

Kruger takes over one of Canada’s largest oil producers as it works to improve its safety record and grapples with continued pressure from Elliott. Kris Smith, previously Suncor’s executive vice president for downstream, has served as interim CEO since Mark Little stepped down in July after a worker died at its Base Plant mine in northern Alberta, its second worker death that year.

The activist investor, founded by Paul Singer, went public with its campaign against the oil-sands giant in April and struck a deal just days after Little’s resignation to add three directors to its board and review a possible sale of Suncor’s downstream assets. Two of those directors were appointed to serve on the committee to select the new CEO.

Elliott has been particularly critical of Suncor’s safety record, which also included deaths in the two years prior to the launch of its campaign. The repeated accidents prompted Alberta’s Occupational Health & Safety division to put the company under a special safety-monitoring program late last year. The probe has resulted in Suncor receiving 32 safety violations from November through January, far more than its peers have been given.

Under Smith, Suncor has taken steps to address safety, including implementing plans to cut its contractor workforce by 20% at mining and upgrading sites.

The company also has agreed to sell oil and gas assets in the UK and Norway and divest its renewable-energy portfolio. But Suncor decided to hold on to its retail filling stations in Canada after a review concluded that the company wouldn’t have fetched the premium it wanted for them.

Edited by Bloomberg



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