Over its twenty years with president and CEO Rick George at the helm, Suncor Energy went from being Canada’s “unluckiest oil company” to a stock market darling and the second-largest publicly traded corporation in the country. Both a contrarian and an optimist, George often made multibillion-dollar moves despite deep skepticism within the industry. His $2.8-billion expansion into the oil sands ignited massive growth in Canada’s most valuable, and controversial, natural resource. And his $19-billion merger with Petro-Canada in 2009 made Suncor a true global player in the rough, big-stakes game of international oil.
All of this from a guy who grew up in a small Colorado ranching town to become one of Canadian business’s most transformative figures in a sector fraught with controversy. Rick George is a man of contradictions—both a conservationist and a leading proponent of sustainable development of the oil sands.
Sun Rise is about leadership, strategy, environmental concerns and boardroom drama; it’s also about the future of oil sands development. This is the story of an optimist whose faith in people and innovation leads him to believe that we can overcome today’s challenges and continue to advance.
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About the Author
RICK GEORGE was appointed president and chief executive officer of Suncor Energy Inc. in 1991; he retired in spring 2012. He was named Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year in 1999 after leading a remarkable business turnaround at Suncor, and he received the Canadian Business Leader Award from the Alberta School of Business in 2000. George was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2007 for his leadership in the development of Canada’s natural resources sector,for his efforts to provide economic opportunities to Aboriginal communities, and for his commitment to sustainable development. Originally from Brush, Colorado, George lives with his family in Calgary, Alberta.
John Lawrence Reynolds is the author of more than two dozen works of fiction and non-fiction. He has previously written six mystery novels—most recently, Beach Strip—and is a two-time winner of the Arthur Ellis Award (for The Man Who Murdered God and Gypsy Sins). His many non-fiction books include Leaving Home, Free Rider (winner of the National Business Book Award), The Naked Investor and Bubbles, Bankers&Bailouts. Shadow People, his bestselling book on secret societies, has been published in sixteen countries. A former president of the Crime Writers of Canada, he lives in Burlington, Ontario. Visit him online at johnlawrencereynolds.com.
Table of Contents
1 Stepping into Corporate Quicksand 1
2 A Business of Big Bets 13
3 My Career Path: From Pick-up Trucks to White Elephants 27
4 Suncor Becomes Profitable … and Canadian 43
5 Cleaning Up after Mother Nature 65
6 Moving West: Relocating Closer to the Action 77
7 The Petro-Canada Saga 89
8 Blending Cultures and Values at the New Suncor 111
9 Fun and Profit: The Secrets behind Suncor Success 125
10 The Importance of a Second Market for Canada's Oil 137
11 Meeting First Nations Obligations 151
12 How to Steady a Three-Legged Stool 161
13 The Always Present (and Frequently Frustrating) Politcs of Petroleum 175
14 The Challenge of Global Warming 189
15 The Legendary Two-Jawed Fish 205
16 The Promise of Alternative Fuels 221
17 Emphasizing Deeds over Words 239
18 A Green and Pleasant Future 249