Steve Williams is retiring from oil sands giant Suncor.  He will officially retire at the company’s annual general meeting next May.  Mark Little has been chosen to lead the Calgary-based company.  Getty Images/Bloomberg photo by Todd Korol.

Steve Williams leaves Suncor after 16 years

On Wednesday, Suncor announced that Steve Williams will retire as chief executive officer at the company’s Annual General Meeting on May 2.

“I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been a part of Suncor, working with a highly effective team as we developed and executed our business strategy,” said Williams.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished together – raising the bar on performance, profitably growing the company, and demonstrating leadership in sustainability, while consistently returning value to our shareholders”.

According to the Calgary-based company, current chief operating officer Mark Little has been named as Williams’ replacement as president and will take on that position immediately.  Little will assume the role of chief executive officer upon Williams’ retirement next May.

Mike Wilson, chair of Suncor Board of Directors said, “Steve has demonstrated exceptionally strong leadership as president and chief executive officer at Suncor.”

Williams has been with the company for 16 years. Wilson says he has led Suncor in “achieving greater reliability, profitability and environmental and safety improvement through operational excellence and ensuring the long-term resilience of the company.”

Williams was at the helm when the company undertook massive projects, including the Fort Hills oil sands mine.

Wilson says Williams “raised the bar for our industry in terms of successful project management and ramp up, technology deployment, and engagement with Aboriginal communities”.

“He’s led the charge as Suncor took a leadership position in sustainability by improving Suncor’s economic, environmental and social performance and influencing the industry through the formation of technology-focused organizations, including Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance and its predecessor, the Oil Sands Leadership Initiative.”

Along with Williams work at Suncor, he has served as board member of the Business Council of Canada, an advisory committee member for Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission and as a member of the official federal delegation at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.

“It’s been a privilege to lead Suncor. I’m making this transition now, knowing that it’s a good time to do so,” said Williams.  “I’m optimistic about Suncor’s future under Mark’s leadership.”

Little has worked at Suncor for since 2008 and was appointed as chief operating officer in 2017.  Wilson says Little demonstrates “a deep knowledge of Suncor’s operations and a strong commitment to Suncor’s proven business strategy and integrated model”.

According to a press release from Suncor, Little “played a leadership role in the successful integration of Suncor and Petro-Canada following the merger,” and has served in a number of leadership roles in the company’s oil sands and international offshore operations.

“He has demonstrated a strong commitment to safety, operational reliability and continuous improvement, as well as a personal commitment to engagement with Aboriginal communities,” said Williams.

“I’m excited to be moving into this new role,’ said Little. “I want to thank Steve for his leadership and vision.  The strong foundation that he’s put into place positions Suncor very well. I look forward to guiding Suncor as we continue its success story.”