Cenovus Energy Inc. chief executive Alex Pourbaix will step down from the CEO role later this year, the Calgary-based energy company announced Thursday.
Pourbaix, who has led Cenovus since November of 2017, will remain part of the company’s leadership team as executive chair. Current Cenovus chief operating officer Jon McKenzie will become CEO.
The leadership transition will take place April 26, the company said.
On a conference call with analysts Thursday, Pourbaix said the change will allow him to focus his attention on external efforts, including working with all levels of government to advance the oil and gas industry’s decarbonization goals.
Cenovus is a member of the Pathways Alliance, a group of oilsands companies that together have pledged to spend $24.1 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from oilsands production by 22 million tonnes by 2030.
Pourbaix himself has been one of the most outspoken advocates of the Pathways plan, and has been heavily involved in the group’s efforts to secure federal and provincial support for a massive proposed carbon capture and storage transportation line that would capture carbon dioxide from oilsands facilities and transport it to a storage facility near Cold Lake, Alta.
“Next to safety, there is nothing more important to Cenovus and our industry than reaching a durable solution between government and industry to achieve our emission aspirations,” Pourbaix said.
“Once I move to the executive chair position, I intend to dedicate even more time to this pivotal external issue for both Cenovus and our industry.”
The announcement of the change in the executive suites came as the company reported a fourth-quarter profit of $784 million or 39 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31 compared with a loss of $408 million or 21 cents per diluted share a year earlier.
Revenue in the quarter was $14.1 billion, up from $13.7 billion in the last three months of 2021.
Cenovus reported total upstream production amounted to 806,900 barrels of oil equivalent per day for its most recent quarter, down from 825,300 a year earlier.
Total downstream throughput was 473,500 barrels per day, up from 469,900 in the fourth quarter or 2021.