And then there was one: Final CEO who made climate deal with Notley left to defend it – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – June 21, 2017)

With Brian Ferguson leaving as CEO of Cenovus Energy Inc. following a disastrous oilsands acquisition, only one of the four top oilsands leaders who made a secret deal with Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley to support her climate change agenda — including a hard cap on oilsands emissions of 100 megatonnes a year — is still around to defend it.

Of the four executives on the stage with Notley during the announcement 18 months ago, Lorraine Mitchelmore left as president of Shell Canada and was replaced by Michael Crothers, who sold Shell’s oilsands business to Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. Murray Edwards, the billionaire oil investor and top shareholder of Canadian Natural, moved to the U.K. and has become disengaged from the Canadian oilpatch, though he remains the company’s chairman.

Cenovus announced Tuesday that Ferguson will retire Oct. 31 and that it will search for a new leader. With its stock price shattered by the US$13.3-billion acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ oilsands assets, Cenovus is now vulnerable to being taken over at a bargain-basement price — if there’s still appetite for oilsands companies given Notley’s punishing carbon reduction regime.

The lone man still standing is Steve Williams, the CEO of Suncor Energy Inc., who has managed to grow his company both organically and through acquisitions in the new environment without going out too much on limb – so far.

Perhaps the turnover is indicative of the tough times experienced by the Alberta-based sector after more than two years of soft oil prices, or of normal succession plans.

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