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Suncor’s Rick George steps down

Alberta's Business Person of the Year in 2001, George led Suncor to become Alberta's biggest company

Dec 1, 2011

by Michael Ganley

When Rick George took over Suncor Energy in 1991, the company was sitting on one of the world’s biggest oil reserves – 300 billion barrels in the Athabasca oil sands – but had no way to economically access it. Production costs were hovering around $20 per barrel, far more than the $12 – $15 for which it was selling. Suncor’s production was at 58,000 barrels per day and many were predicting the ultimate demise of the oilsands as a source of energy.

Today, when he announced his immediate retirement as company president and his plan to step aside as CEO in May, Suncor topped the Venture 100 list of Alberta’s biggest companies (revenues of $32.4-billion in 2010) and is Canada’s largest energy company. Its stock price has risen during George’s tenure from $4.75 to $30, and its production has reached 561,000 barrels per day.

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Halfway between these two moments, in 2001, George was named Alberta’s Business Person of the Year, not only for the economic miracle he was performing, but also for the social and environmental responsibility he was bringing to the company. He will be remembered as a titan of Alberta’s business community.

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