Suncor appoints Rich Kruger, a former CEO of Imperial Oil, to lead its management

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Suncor appoints Rich Kruger, a former Imperial Oil CEO, to lead its management

Rich Kruger, here in 2018, speaking at an Imperial Oil event, where he previously served as chief executive.

Suncor Energy announced Tuesday the appointment of its new president and chief executive officer, the fruit of a search of several months. Rich Kruger will assume the top executive position at the Calgary-based oil producer and refiner beginning April 3.

Mr. Kruger will replace interim chairman and CEO Kris Smith, who stepped in after Mark Little resigned in July 2022 under pressure from investors and on the heels of a string of deaths work and safety incidents.

At least a dozen workers have died since 2014 at the company's oilsands operations in northern Alberta, and Mark Little quit the day after the latest of those deaths.

< p class="e-p">Mr. Kruger worked for Exxon Mobil for 39 years, running Imperial Oil from 2013 to 2019 before leaving the company.

“Rich [Kruger] is a highly skilled and seasoned CEO with an impressive track record in leading a culture of safety.

— Michael Wilson, Chairman of the Board, Suncor

After a transition period, Kris Smith will assume the role of Chief Financial Officer and Vice CEO of Corporate Development after Suncor's Annual General Meeting, scheduled for May 9.

Alister Cowan, the current chief financial officer, will retire but will remain with the company until the end of the year to support the transition and provide guidance, the company announced on Tuesday. .

Mr. Wilson noted that Kris Smith has taken decisive action to make necessary improvements in Suncor's performance during his tenure as interim director.

In the eight months since his appointment as interim CEO, Kris Smith has implemented a number of changes aimed at improving worker safety at Suncor sites, an issue that had been reported by American activist investor Elliott Investment Management.

The Suncor Energy corporate logo at its corporate headquarters in Calgary.

When the company announced its fourth quarter financial results last week, Kris Smith told analysts that collision detection systems were expected to be commissioned at Syncrude's Aurora mine by the end of the first quarter and that Suncor is also on track to complete the implementation of technology systems for collision detection and fatigue management at all of its nine oil sands sites.

The company is also reducing the size of its contractor workforce by 20%, a move that Kris Smith says will decrease the number of hours exposed to risk injury or death at the company's workplace, while reducing its costs.

Suncor said Rich Kruger, who will also join the board of directors of the company, had been unanimously chosen for the position after a process of rigorous global research conducted by a special board committee.

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