Is it more difficult than ever to lead a company?
Amidst economic uncertainty, sustainability pressures and increasing demand from employees for a better work-life balance, not to mention the rapid emergence of generative AI, CEOs have their work cut out to simply keep up.
However, against this backdrop, those in charge of Canada’s biggest companies – ranked here by revenue, according to the latest data from ZoomInfo – are working round the clock to stay ahead of the competition while meeting their ESG targets.
It’s a list occupied entirely by men, demonstrating there is still much work to be done to achieve gender equality in the upper echelons of Canadian business.
1. Brian Hannasch
Company: Alimentation Couche-Tard
At the helm is Brian Hannasch, who joined the group more than two decades ago and has served in roles including COO of Circle K, one of North America’s best-known convenience store and gas station chains.
Having risen through the ranks to reach the position of President and CEO at Alimentation Couche-Tard in 2014, Hannasch has led the organisation during a time of unprecedented growth which has been punctuated by regular acquisitions.
His efforts have helped ACT to become the biggest company in Canada, with revenue of US$52.9bn.
Hannasch was working as a VP at BP in the 1990s when the energy heavyweight sealed a huge deal to take over American oil giant Amoco.
2. Jon McKenzie
Company: Cenovus Energy
As CEO of Canada’s largest energy company in terms of revenue, Jon McKenzie is responsible for strategic direction and delivering strong financial, operational and sustainability performance.
McKenzie, who previously served as COO and EVP, officially took the top job in April 2023 as part of Cenovus’ leadership succession plan, which saw Alex Pourbaix shift to the role of Executive Chair.
This visionary leader can boast more than three decades worth of experience in finance and operations, primarily in the Canadian oil and natural gas industry. He joined Cenovus in 2018 as CFO and was instrumental in its strategic merger with Husky Energy, where he headed up the finance function from 2015 to 2018.
McKenzie has received praise from peers for his strength in positions of leadership, financial discipline, commercial acumen and vast knowledge.
3. Richard Kruger
Richard Kruger came out of retirement to join Suncor as CEO in April, replacing interim boss Kris Smith.
Remarkably, Kruger spent almost 40 years at ExxonMobil before a six-year stint in the top job at Imperial Oil from 2013 to 2019.
At the latter, he drove a strong performance culture by focusing on safety, reliability and operational excellence – enabling Imperial Oil to deliver exceptional financial results.
Following his appointment at Suncor, Kruger was lauded for his strategic and commercial aptitude.
4. Galen Weston Jr
Company: George Weston Ltd
The Weston family’s business pedigree can be traced back to 1882, when a young George Weston bought a bread route from his employer.
By the turn of the century, George Weston Ltd was Canada’s biggest baker.
While the bakery business was sold in 2021, the organisation remains in the family and is these days led by Galen Weston Jr, who has been CEO since 2016.
George Weston Ltd is the parent company of Loblaw Companies and Choice Properties, a leading Real Estate Investment Trust.
5. Brad Corson
Company: Imperial Oil
Brad Corson began his career with ExxonMobil in 1983 and, over the years, was assigned to various technical, operational, commercial and managerial positions around the world, including in the US, London and Hong Kong.
In 2009, Corson was appointed VP at ExxonMobil Production Company, taking responsibility for oil and gas production activities in Europe and the Caspian region.
Further promotions followed, before he joined Imperial Oil as Chairman, President and CEO in 2020, replacing the retiring Richard Kruger.
6. Per Bank
Company: Loblaw Companies
Per Bank will formally take the reins as President and CEO of Loblaw from Q1 2024.
He replaces Galen Weston Jr as President, while COO Robert Sawyer is retiring at the end of 2023.
Bank’s deep expertise in both retail operations and supply chain stands him in good stead to take over at Loblaw, which runs a huge network of food stores and pharmacies.
He is the outgoing CEO of Salling Group A/S, the largest retailer in Denmark.
7. Dave McKay
Company: Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
An RBC veteran, Dave McKay joined the business back in 1983 as a co-op student in computer programming.
In the ensuing years, McKay climbed the corporate ladder to hold senior roles across various functions, eventually becoming Group Head of Canadian Banking in 2008.
He then stepped up to take the top job in 2014.
As a champion of innovation, McKay is actively transforming RBC for the future, harnessing the power of emerging technologies to deliver more value to clients through unique partnerships and personalised experiences.
8. Jeffrey Orr
Company: Power Corporation of Canada
Jeffrey Orr was appointed President and CEO of the Power Corporation of Canada in 2020 having amassed extensive experience in the financial services industry, including in executive positions at Power group companies.
He has been President and CEO of Power Financial since 2005, prior to which he held the same role at IGM Financial.
Orr is widely recognised as one of Canada’s most influential business people and remains active in a number of community and business organisations.
9. Bharat Masrani
Company: TD Bank Group
Bharat Masrani has been Group President and CEO of TD Bank Group for the past nine years and, overall, has three-and-a-half decades worth of banking experience.
Masrani started out as a commercial banking trainee in 1987 and has continued progressing through the ranks in admirable fashion.
Over the years he has taken on leadership roles across the globe, including in India where he was VP and Country Head, and Europe where he was CEO of TD Waterhouse.
10. Greg Ebel
With decades of experience in the energy sector under his belt, Greg Ebel assumed the role of President and CEO of Enbridge at the beginning of 2023.
Duke Energy, Union Gas Limited and Spectra Energy are just a handful of the other corporations for which Ebel has worked.
Recently, Ebel called on Canada to show leadership to the world in lowering global emissions, reducing energy poverty and supporting the progress of Indigenous communities in the country.
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