President & Chief Executive Officer
Mark Ward was appointed President & Chief Executive Officer of Syncrude Canada Ltd. in May 2014. In this role, he oversees the effective management and stewardship of Syncrude, which has over 5,000 employees and is one of Canada’s largest producers of crude oil from the oil sands of Alberta, with productive capacity of 350,000 barrels per day.
Mark came to Syncrude from his previous role at ExxonMobil as Managing Director in Nigeria and brings 34 years of experience to this role.
Throughout his extensive career, Mark has held various engineering, planning and executive positions around the world including Indonesia, Venezuela and most recently Nigeria. He holds a Chemical Engineering degree from Texas A & M University and has three grown children.
Chief Operating Officer
As COO, Pablo is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Syncrude operation. Reporting directly to him are the Vice Presidents of Production (Mining and Extraction/Upgrading), Maintenance and Technical (Engineering Services and Operations Support) and the General Manager, Safety Health Environment.
In 1988, Pablo joined Esso in Argentina as a Process Engineer and assumed increasingly senior roles during his career. That includes serving as the Refinery Manager for the Campana Refinery in Argentina and most recentlyTorrance, California. His education includes a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Argentina’s Universidad del Litoral and a Master’s degree from Spain’s Industrial Management EOI.
Vice President, Safety, Security, Health & Environment
Mike Daley was appointed to the position of Vice President, Safety, Security, Health & Environment effective March 2015.
Mike first joined Syncrude in 1977 as a process technician and participated in the startup of the Upgrader in 1978. He has held progressively more senior roles throughout his career at Syncrude including Hydroprocessing Operations Manager, Upgrading Maintenance Manager, Facilities Services Manager, UE-1 Operations Manager and most recently, Manager, Turnarounds and Majors.
Mike is also a long-time resident of Fort McMurray and is very active in the community. He’s chair of the Community Christmas Day dinner committee, serves on the Board of Directors for the Oil Sands Safety Association, the Fort McMurray Historical Society and the Marine Park Committee.
Vice President, Government & Public Affairs
Kara Flynn serves as the Vice President, Government and Public Affairs, and reports directly to the President and CEO. In her role she oversees a diverse team of employees responsible for Aboriginal and stakeholder relations, government relations, internal and external communications and community investment. She was promoted to the role of VP in January 2012, having previously served as Manager, Public Affairs for over three years.
Prior to joining Syncrude, Ms. Flynn had a 20-year career in management, communications and community relations initiatives that spanned health, cultural facilities and the non-profit sector.
She is Chair of the Keyano College Board of Governors and a member of the Board of Directors of the Telus World of Science. As well, she serves as a member of the Board of Directors and Secretary for the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business. She is also active in a range of committees for the Oil Sands Community Alliance, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the Mining Association of Canada.
Ms. Flynn has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of British Columbia in History and Political Science.
Vice President, Production, Mining and Extraction
Greg Fuhr was appointed Vice President, Mining & Extraction, in August 2012 and oversees Syncrude’s mining and extraction operations at both Mildred Lake and Aurora leases. Greg is also responsible for Syncrude’s lease development, closure and tailings operations.
Prior to joining Syncrude, Greg had a 27-year career working with Sherritt International.
Working for Sherritt International as Senior Vice President, Greg led the exploration and feasibility study for the subsequent development of the Sulawesi lateritic nickel deposit in Indonesia and oversaw the development of the organization for the commissioning and operations of the $5.5 billion Ambatovy Nickel project in Madagascar.
He holds a Bachelor of Science, Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Alberta.
Vice President, Law & Land, and Corporate Secretary
Ray Hansen, Vice President, Law & Land, and Corporate Secretary, was appointed in March 2013 and leads the Corporate Secretary, Law Department and Land Administration functions for Syncrude Canada Ltd.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts, Economics in 1979 and Bachelor of Laws in 1981, both from the University of Alberta.
Ray first joined Syncrude as Corporate Counsel in 1985, was promoted to Manager, Law Department in 1989 and then named General Counsel in 1996. He assumed the additional responsibilities of Corporate Secretary in 2008.
Manuel E Ortiz
Vice President Business Services and Chief Financial Officer
Manuel Ortiz was appointed Syncrude’s Chief Financial Officer and Vice President, Business Services, in June 2014. Manuel oversees the organization’s Procurement, Facilities Management, Security, Information Technology, Aviation, Internal Audit and Controllers departments.
Prior to joining Syncrude, Manuel spent three years in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as the Lead Controller and Financial Accounting & Reporting Manager. During his 28 years of experience with ExxonMobil, Manuel has held various positions in finance, audit, controllers, procurement, projects and mining. His career has also brought him to work and live in countries such as Argentina, Colombia, Italy, Cameroun, Belgium, Brazil, Chile and the United States.
Originally from Colombia, Manuel has a Master’s in Business Administration from State University of New York, and an Industrial Engineering degree from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Colombia. He is married with three children.
Vice President, Project Development and Execution
Jerry McPherson serves as Vice President, Project Development and Execution. In this role, he is responsible for developing and executing Syncrude portfolio of capital projects.
Jerry began his Syncrude career in 2002 and held the previous roles of Projective Executive of the Fluid Fine Tailings – Centrifuging Full Scale Project and General Manager, Projects Portfolio where he prepared the business case for a variety of capital projects and oversaw their development.
He earned a Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) with Distinction from the Technical University of Nova Scotia (now Dalhousie University) in 1984 and a Certificate of Applied Science from Acadia University in 1982.
Jerry is an active community member and has spent a number of years coaching and volunteering in various capacities within Fort McMurray.
Vice President, Strategic Planning
Peter Read serves as Vice President, Strategic Planning. In this role, he oversees key strategies for Syncrude’s future growth and environmental sustainability, including lease development, land reclamation, closure planning and tailings management.
Joining Syncrude as a mining engineer in 1987, Mr. Read has held leadership positions throughout his career in the organization’s Mining, Extraction, Tailings and Corporate Strategy areas.
He graduated with distinction from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering and received his Masters of Business Administration in 1987. He is a recipient of the University of Alberta’s Alumni Honour Award and the CIM Past Presidents’ Memorial Medal.
Mr. Read has served on the University of Alberta Mining Engineering Industry Advisory Committee since 1990. As well, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Mining Association of Canada, the Alberta Chamber of Resources and the Northern Lights Health Foundation.
Mr. Read and his wife are long-term Fort McMurray residents and are involved in many volunteer activities in the community.
Vice President, Maintenance
Born and raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Jim Richards graduated from the University of Saskatchewan’s Mechanical Engineering program in 1980. Upon graduation, he joined Imperial Oil as a mechanical design engineer at Imperial’s Strathcona Refinery.
After working in several operations, supply and maintenance positions at Strathcona, he transferred to the IOCO refinery as a machinery specialist. In the early 90’s, Jim was the turnaround leader for the refinery before moving into the technical services supervisor role.
A few years later, Jim returned to the Strathcona refinery and held positions such as reliability manager, turnaround manager and maintenance manager. In 2012, he transferred to Calgary and assumed the role of R&S advisor until his appointment to Syncrude in November 2013.
As Vice President of Maintenance, Jim oversees the maintenance activities and organization for the Mildred Lake and Aurora Mines as well as the Upgrader.
Jim is married and the proud father of a son and a daughter.
Vice President, Technical, Engineering Services
Christian Matte was appointed to the position of Vice President, Technical, Engineering Services effective September 2015.
Chris joined Syncrude in 2001 as a contact engineer in Utilities and has steadily progressed through roles with increasing scope and responsibility in the Technical, Operations and Maintenance areas. He holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from Laval University.
Originally from Quebec City, Chris and his family regularly volunteer with the Fort McMurray francophone community.
Vice President, Production, Upgrading
Steve Yatauro was appointed Vice President, Upgrading in August 2014 and oversees Syncrude’s Upgrading facilities at both Mildred Lake and Aurora leases.
Prior to joining Syncrude, Steve has held a number of engineering and managerial positions with ExxonMobil. Most recently, Steve served as the Torrance Refinery Process Manager in California.
With more than 25 years in the industry, he brings a wealth of process, technical, and mechanical knowledge to Syncrude. He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Florida.
Throughout his career, Steve has been involved in community organizations both in volunteer and board member capacities. His wife Trish and youngest daughter reside in Fort McMurray and his twin daughters attend university, one in Florida and one in Tennessee.
Vice President, Technical, Operations Support
Bill Chase was appointed Vice President, Technical, Operations Support, in April 2015.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master’s degree in Business from Athabasca University. With 30 years with Imperial Oil, Mr. Chase has worked in a range of senior engineering and management positions throughout his career.
Coming from his latest role as Arctic/Angola New Operations Manager with ExxonMobil based in Houston, Texas, Mr. Chase also served as the RasGas Company Operations Technical Manager in Doha, Qatar. He also has experience overseeing In Situ Operations and Development projects for Imperial Oil at its Cold Lake facilities.
Bill has lived in northern Canada for much of his career. His wife Lynn and daughter reside in Fort McMurray and his son attends the University of Calgary.
Vice President, Human Resources
Colleen Kearney was appointed Vice President, Human Resources in March 2016 and reports directly to the President and CEO.
Joining Syncrude in 1990 as an Industrial Engineer, Colleen has held progressively more senior roles throughout her career in areas including Central Shops, Facilities, Maintenance and Projects Portfolio. Colleen became Manager, Compensation and Benefits in 2014.
Colleen holds an Industrial Engineering degree from the Technical University of Nova Scotia and Masters of Business Administration from the University of Alberta. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Waypoints (formerly the Fort McMurray Family Crisis Society) and the Regional Recreation Corporation.
Originally from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Colleen is a long-time Fort McMurray resident. She is married to Syncrude employee Paul, and they have three grown children.