Suncor general meeting highlights

Suncor CEO Kruger ‘sees gap’ in current performance, promises to focus on fundamental areas.
Daniel Reale-Chin
Associate Editor, Convenience Store News Canada
Daniel Reale-Chin, a young man with a beard, smiles at the camera
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Rich Kruger, Suncor Energy Inc.'s new CEO, said he sees "a gap" between Suncor's current performance and being "the best in-class". Kruger, who joined Suncor in April began Suncor's general meeting with bullish remarks on the company's current standing and where he plans to bring it. 

"I consider myself to be reasonably decisive and very competitive," said Kruger. "I play to win".

Kruger led with opening remarks at the conference call on May 9 with analysts and reporters as the company's new chief. 

"I know many of you on the call today," said Kruger, highlighting his extensive career in Canadian energy, including a stint as president and CEO of Imperial Oil Ltd. and a 39-year career with ExxonMobil Corp. 

The conference call highlighted many points from Suncor's Q1 results, released on May 8. 

Suncor reported $2.05 billion in earnings for the quarter, down from $2.95 billion for Q1 2022. 

News of the company's quarterly divided of $0.52 per share was eclipsed by its adjusted operating earnings of $1.8 billion for Q1, down a whopping 34% year over year from $2.7 billion.

Kruger said he is "looking hard" at reducing spending and "organizational efficiency" including eliminating work and trimming work that doesn't add value.

Among his goals, Kruger said he plans to focus on four key pillars to return Suncor to its industry leadership position: safety, operational excellence, reliability and profitability. By focusing on those key areas, Kruger said he will ensure the company delivers "superior, long-term shareholder value".

Alister Cowan, Suncor's current chief financial officer, who also announced in February that he would retire, joined Kruger alongside Kris Smith, interim CEO. Smith has helped facilitate a smooth transition for Kruger and would become the company's new chief financial officer and executive vice-president of corporate development after the meeting on May 9. 

Suncor's waning earnings and corporate decisions were criticized last year by big financial players, including activist investor Elliott Investment Management. Last July, the company said it would consider selling Petro Canada to appease investors, but decided against it in November

Since then, the energy giant has partnered with Canadian Tire, which will rebrand its energy assets and gas stations to the Petro Canada banner. 

In the coming years, Kruger said he plans to make Suncor a "simpler company that delivers on our commitment".

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