Suncor Energy Inc. named Rich Kruger as the company's next president and CEO on Feb. 21. Kruger, who will also join the Suncor Board of Directors, will step into his new position on April 3.
"Rich is a highly capable and seasoned CEO with an impressive track record of leading a safety culture," said Mike Wilson, board chair of Suncor. "Known as a strong and engaging leader, Rich is well regarded for his strategic and commercial aptitude, and for his experience in the Canadian oil sands. The Board looks forward to working with Rich, as he provides the leadership to deliver world-class performance that maximizes shareholder returns."
Kruger is an energy industry veteran with nearly 40 years experience. He joins Sucnor after a 39-year tenure at Exxon Mobil Corporation. In his time at Exxon, Kruger led Imperial Oil Limited – Canada’s second-largest integrated oil company – as chairman, president and CEO from 2013 to 2019.
"I am very excited and energized about the opportunity to lead Suncor into the next chapter," said Rich Kruger. "Suncor has great people and assets. Combined with strong leadership and the right culture, we can leverage the company's competitive advantages to excel."
Suncor’s Board made the announcement following a rigorous global search by a special committee of Suncor’s Board. The committee considered multiple highly qualified candidates and was supported by an international executive recruiting firm.
Kruger has been praised by many, including Scotiabank analyst, Jason Bouvier, who told The Canadian Press that, "We view these changes as positive as it will provide those in the market that wanted a change in leadership with an actionable event."
"Rich brings considerable oilsands experience and a strong history of operational safety to the role," added Bouvier.
In his previous role, Kruger built a reputation for driving a strong performance culture by focusing on safety, reliability and operational excellence throughout his leadership at Imperial. Kruger will succeed Kris Smith, who has been the interim CEO at Suncor since July last year. The two will work with Kruger to facilitate a smooth transition.
Smith with assume the role of chief financial officer and executive vice-president of corporate development after Suncor’s annual general meeting on May 9. Alister Cowan, Suncor’s current CFO, plans to retire but will remain with the company until the end of the year for guidance.
"On behalf of the Suncor Board of Directors, I would like to thank Alister for his outstanding leadership over the last nine years," said Wilson. "We are grateful for his forward thinking, dedication and diligence through periods of change and challenge in the company and the industry. He has been a strategic and stabilizing leader and will be leaving the company with a strong balance sheet and industry-leading returns for shareholders."
Wilson also took his time to thank Smith for his leadership throughout the interim period, and praised his ability to take action and drive improvements in the company’s performance.
"The Board is confident that Kris will continue to provide Suncor with strong leadership as CFO and head of corporate development while working closely with Rich in moving Suncor forward. Not only does he have strategic vision, a deep understanding of the business and uncompromising integrity, but Kris also brings strong financial acumen and commercial experience to his new role."