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Richard L. George

 

Richard George, Suncor Energy's chief executive officer, is so well known that his name is practically a household word. He is admired not just by analysts and shareholders, but also by other industry executives.


Aside from doing what some might consider the impossible-creating a green reputation for an oilsands mining company-Richard has captained a firm that has shown remarkable growth.

From an initial market capitalization of $1 billion in 1992, Suncor has grown to more than $50 billion today, making it the highest valued integrated oil company. Over the same period, the company's oilsands production more than quadrupled to 236,000 barrels per day.

 

The company has also provided its shareholders with phenomenal value. A $100 investment in Suncor in 1992 when Suncor became a publicly traded company would now be worth more than $7,000.

 

Early on, Richard made two important decisions that have earned him the title of visionary: to investigate new technologies and to allocate substantial funds to the acquisition of new leases. At the time, the price of oil made oilsands production far less profitable than it is today. At the same time, the technology for in situ recovery was still in an early stage of development. The leases Suncor purchased for tens of millions of dollars in the late 1990s are today worth billions.

 

In recognition of his foresight in making decisions like these, Richard has received a myriad of awards. Among them are Alberta Business Person of the Year (2001), Canadian Business Leader Award (2000), and Canada's Outstanding CEO (1999).

 

As well, during the 17 years Richard has led Suncor, he has cultivated Suncor's reputation as an oilsands producer that cares about and aims to reduce its impact on the environment. The company has made a $750 million commitment to developing renewable energy technology.

 

Suncor's progress on the environmental front has led to its inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index since the Index's inception in 1999, and its recognition as Best in Class in the Climate Disclosure Leadership Index.

 

Other business leaders admire Richard's ability to foster Suncor's glowing reputation. J.R. Shaw, former chair of Suncor's board of directors writes that over the years, he came to admire and respect Richard as "a strong visionary and an enlightened leader." He also credits Richard for helping to put Alberta and Canada on the energy map.

 

Richard has served on many charitable drives and industry organizations, among them as chair of the 2008 Governor General's Leadership Conference, chair of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (2003-2006), and chair of the 1998 Calgary United Way Campaign.

In 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Richard to represent Canada on the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC). In 2007, he was appointed an Officer to the Order of Canada.

 

Born in Brush, Colorado, Richard received a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Colorado State University and a law degree from the University of Houston Law School. He is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School Program for Management Development. Before moving to Canada, Richard served as managing director of Sun Oil Britain Ltd.

 

Richard has accomplished all that he has, Shaw writes, with "grace, humanity and humility." And community leader Ann McCaig echoes this sentiment. "He is a generous and visionary philanthropist," she writes, who "would be the first one to emphasize the important role his wife and children have played in his success."

 

   
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