Brian C. Ferguson (2014)

The nominating committee of the Alberta Chamber of Resources has chosen Brian Ferguson as the 2014 Resource Person of the Year, to Honour a long career of outstanding leadership in support of ACR’s core mission: the orderly and responsible development of Alberta’s natural resources. In particular, and in keeping with ACR’s overarching Strategic Framework, Mr. Ferguson exemplifies the visionary leadership that drives the responsible growth of Alberta’s resource industry which is based on an especially strong foundation and long record of innovation and social responsibility. There are many examples.

Mr. Ferguson spoke to the Canadian Club in Toronto last year about Canada’s energy resources. His speech highlighted the role energy plays in our daily lives and the role we as Canadians play in producing it. He also touched on his personal pride of the way our country’s resources are being developed. The media coverage that followed very eloquently expressed sentiments relating to the virtues of natural resources and natural resource workers.

Mr. Ferguson has publicly challenged Canadians to get informed about the energy industry – encouraging them to choose reason over sensationalism and to understand the facts before forming an opinion. His commitment to informing Canadians about the good work that’s happening in the industry, and ensuring Cenovus is a leader in the responsible development of the oil sands, has helped renew pride among the thousands of resource industry builders in what they do. This is an approach perfectly in keeping with the priority of visible leadership in sustainable performance as espoused by the ACR Task Force on Resource Development + the Economy in 2011.Mr. Ferguson has established this foundation for pride, both within and outside of the industry, through his exceptional leadership of Cenovus:

  • Along with the rest of the industry, Cenovus has created thousands of jobs directly and indirectly across Alberta and the rest of Canada, generated billions of dollars in taxes and royalties and produced millions of barrels of oil. Cenovus has the potential to achieve total oil production of more than 500,000 barrels per day. Despite this expected growth happening in challenging market conditions, Mr. Ferguson has not lost sight of the need to “be the best we can be at how we develop Canada’s resources”.
  • Cenovus’s record of environmental leadership and stewardship is an incredibly impressive one. For example, more than 24 million tonnes of carbon dioxide have been stored at the company’s Weyburn operation in Saskatchewan. Cenovus has received a host of third-party awards affirming its commitment to and performance in the realm of sustainability. In 2013 Cenovus had more than 2,000 wells under active reclamation and had achieved 116 per cent of its inactive well reclamation target. These are inspiring numbers and achievements.
  • Within the sphere of social responsibility, Cenovus has been an important and contributing partner in the communities where it operates. The company’s longstanding relationships and agreements with nearly half a dozen aboriginal communities have generated more than a billion dollars in business for those communities over just five years of operations. This links directly with the work ACR has done over many decades to foster greater aboriginal participation in the Alberta economy.
  • On the innovation front, under Mr. Ferguson’s guidance, Cenovus has led or adopted a variety of leading-edge technologies that often have the duel benefit of improving both cost and environmental performance. Cenovus is a technology driven company. They eblieve technology is key to increasing production and efficiency, and minimizing environmental impact. And the company has numerous technology development projects on the go that could have environmental benefits. The design of their Narrow Lake project to use a solvent aided process which improves steam-to-oil ratio and reduces emissions intensity is an example. Another example is their Wedge WellTM technology, which helps increase total recovery of oil while lowering the environmental impact of operations. And their SkyStratTM drilling rig, which flies rigs into remote locations in pieces to minimize land disturbance. Innovating towards Alberta’s triple future is a core ACR goal and these provide stellar examples of what the membership can do.

While operational and leadership excellence are key components of the selection process for this award, ACR’s Resource Person of the Year honours Mr. Ferguson’s approach to success – his championing, for example, not just of his company but his industry: its past performance and its future social, economic and environmental obligations – as much as the success itself. And Mr. Ferguson shines on both counts.

About Brian Ferguson

As President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ferguson is responsible for the overall leadership of Cenovus’s strategic and operational performance. Cenovus is a Canadian oil company that’s committed to being a responsible developer of one of Canada’s most valuable resources – the oil sands.

Mr. Ferguson joined a predecessor company to Cenovus in 1984 and became a member of the management team in 1994. He was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer when Cenovus was formed on November 30, 2009. His business experience includes a variety of areas in finance, business development, reserves, strategic planning, evaluations and communications.

Mr. Ferguson earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree, with distinction, from the University of Alberta in 1980, and received his Chartered Accountant designation in 1983. In 1993 he completed the University of Western Ontario’s Executive Management program, and in 2010 received the Fellow of the Chartered Accountant (FCA) designation from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta.

He is a board member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and a members of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), and is a past Chairman of CICA’s Risk Oversight and Governance Board and previously served on CICA’s Innovation Council. In April of 2012, Mr. Ferguson completed a two-year term on the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) Board of Governors. He continues to participate on several CAPP committees including the Oil Sands CEO Council.

He was appointed to the Federal Government’s Global Commerce Strategy Advisory Panel headed by The Honourable Ed Fast in May 2012.

Mr. Ferguson has also been active in supporting the community. He became Chair of the Calgary Police Foundation in June 2011. In May 2012, he was named Calgary’s first Honorary Deputy Police Chief.

Pictured: Brian C. Ferguson (left) and Leon Zupan, President of ACR (right)