Nutrien CEO explains decision to move 2 executives to Saskatoon in 2019

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WATCH ABOVE: Under provincial legislation, Nutrien must have a head office, chief executive officer and chief financial officer in Saskatchewan – Feb 21, 2019

Nutrien expects to move two of its executives to Saskatoon by the end of 2019, the head of the world’s largest fertilizer company told business leaders Thursday.

Chuck Magro’s remarks come amid concerns Nutrien hasn’t fulfilled a legislated obligation to keep its head office, chief executive officer and chief financial officer in Saskatchewan’s largest city.

READ MORE: Sask. premier to meet with Nutrien over local leadership concerns

“We place our executives where it makes the most business sense,” said Magro, who is Nutrien’s president and CEO.

Nutrien officially formed in January 2018, when Calgary-based Agrium merged with Saskatoon-based PotashCorp. Once a Crown corporation and later publicly traded, the latter was bound by the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Reorganization Act.

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The legislation lays out the requirements for the CEO, CFO and head office location. It applies to any successor to PotashCorp, including Nutrien.

For family reasons, Magro told attendees at Thursday’s Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce luncheon he won’t be moving from Calgary to Saskatoon.

“I have to put my family first,” said Magro, who explained he’s held 24 jobs in 25 years en route to becoming CEO.

READ MORE: Nutrien shares start trading on TSX and NYSE after Agrium, PotashCorp merger

However, two members of Nutrien’s nine-person senior management team will join one executive already in Saskatoon.

“My expectation is that we will be at that level by the end of the year, as our organization settles after a very, very complex merger,” Magro said.

The CEO did not take questions from the media, but provided a keynote address and participated in a question and answer session with the head of the chamber of commerce.

In his remarks, Magro stated “Saskatchewan has been a clear winner as a result of the merger,” receiving an additional $750 million to its economy compared to the previous year with its two legacy companies.

Nutrien has seen a 30 per cent increase in employees at its Saskatoon office in one year, Magro said.

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The company will also one day occupy the tallest building in the province with a target move-in date at Saskatoon’s River Landing slated for late 2021.

READ MORE: Nutrien outlook falls below expectations due to trade dispute

Saskatchewan Justice Minister Don Morgan acknowledged Nutrien is a major employer and taxpayer in the province, but states the company has a legal and moral obligation.

“We want to make sure that as a government we protect the people of this province,” Morgan said.

The province will continue working with Nutrien over the next year or so, according to the minister.

In a statement, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe called the transition of two senior executives a “positive step,” representing one-third of the company’s executive membership.

“Our government’s expectation remains that Nutrien has Saskatchewan representation from the mine to the highest levels of leadership, and we will continue to work closely with Nutrien to ensure this commitment is upheld,” Moe said.

A Nutrien communications official said the company is “still working through” which executives will move to Saskatchewan.

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