Al Monaco. Enbridge

CALGARY – Through what has easily been the most contentious decade for pipelines in this nation, Al Monaco led on of the biggest players, Enbridge. But on Oct. 1, Enbridge announced Al Monaco’s retirement as president and chief executive officer and from its board of directors effective Jan. 1, 2023.

Monaco saw the Northern Gateway project, which had been approved by the Stephen Harper Conservative Government, killed by the Justin Trudeau Liberal government in one of its early acts.

This is what Monaco had to deal with: On April 26, 2016, Trudeau was asked about the Northern Gateway. Trudeau responded, “the Great Bear Rainforest is no place for a pipeline for a crude oil pipeline.”

“There is no changing on my thinking. My thinking has always been that we need to get our resources to market, but we need to do that in responsible, sustainable, thoughtful ways. The previous government refused to understand that you cannot separate what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy, that Canadians demand that we build a stronger economy while protecting the environment at the same time, and that is what I have always been committed to. That’s what our ministers are committed to. And that, indeed, is what Canadians expect of this government, to create economic growth and protect the environment at the same time, and whether it’s pipelines or other issues. That’s the lens we go through it on that.”

That pipeline was finally killed on Nov. 29, 2016. Not only that, but the Liberal government then brought in a law banning crude oil tankers from the northern British Columbia coast.

 

So Monaco’s signature project, one that would have seen Canadian oil shipped on the world market by now, was killed during the early days of his tenure. But those battles were not the last.

The Line 3 Replacement Project took many years longer than it should have to complete. Legal battles in Minnesota, in particular, tied up construction on the American side of the border. Thus, the pipe was completed and in the ground right up to Gretna, Manitoba, and in service, long before the American portion was complete.

Enbridge chief executive Al Monaco prepares to address the company’s annual meeting in Calgary, Wednesday, May 8, 2019. Enbridge Inc. says Monaco will retire effective Jan. 1, 2023, and be replaced by Greg Ebel, currently the company’s board chair. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

 

And if that wasn’t enough, in recent years, the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, has made it her mission to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5, which crosses between the upper and lower peninsulas of that state. It crosses into southern Ontario and is a key supplier to Ontario’s energy and petrochemical industry. The state has thrown numerous legal challenges at it, to the point where the Government of Canada has had to step in and invoke a 1977 treaty. And still, Michigan has not given up.

These were just some of the travails Monaco dealt with in his 10 years as CEO. And they are the continuing battles his successor, Greg Ebel, currently board chair, will deal with.

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Ebel will succeed Monaco as president and chief executive officer. Internal and external candidates were considered. Ebel will continue as a member of the board of directors. A new independent board chair will be named prior to January 1, 2023. To support Ebel through the transition, Monaco will serve as an advisor to March 1, 2023.

“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Al for his invaluable and bold leadership over the last decade as CEO, and throughout his 27 years with Enbridge,” said Greg Ebel, who focused on Enbridge’s tremendous growth under Monaco. Indeed, the company has grown from a Canadian giant to a North American one.

“Al has led Enbridge through a period of unprecedented growth, repositioning the business as a leader across four blue chip platforms, strengthening its low-risk pipeline utility model and driving consistent financial performance, dividend increases, and organic growth. Under his leadership, Enbridge strategically expanded its liquids pipeline business into the U.S. gulf coast, executed the successful $37 billion merger with Spectra Energy, built out its crude oil and LNG export capabilities and accelerated its renewable energy and low-carbon growth.

“Al’s unparalleled leadership, discipline and integrity has ensured that the company is incredibly well positioned to remain a critical component of North America’s energy fabric, and to grow, for decades to come. His relentless focus on Enbridge’s safety performance, emissions reduction, Indigenous engagement, diversity, equity, and inclusion and fostering the Company’s talent will provide an enduring foundation for the future. On behalf of the Board, and Enbridge, we wish Al all the best.”

Ebel continued, “Enbridge is truly North America’s premier energy infrastructure company and I’m excited to build on management’s track record of success. Our extraordinary management team has steadily advanced our strategic priorities and generated tremendous shareholder value through disciplined investment and world class operations. I look forward to working with all our employees and the Board as we continue to grow Enbridge as the energy infrastructure company of choice in North America and as we pursue achievement of the same in new markets.”

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As for taking over the reins, Ebel said, “My sincere gratitude to the board for placing its confidence in my leadership as we continue to move the business forward with a consistent focus on the energy transition, capital allocation, safety, integrity, inclusion and high performance. With a deep appreciation for the very solid foundation that Enbridge has set over more than a century of reliably delivering energy, we are all excited about growing the company well into the future. Indeed, Tomorrow is on!”

Incoming Enbridge president and CEO Greg Ebel. Enbridge

Since 2017, Ebel has held the position of chair of the coard which has, along with the Board, provided strategic oversight and leadership to the company throughout its ongoing transformation. His biography is available here.

“Greg is well positioned to lead Enbridge in the next phase of growth,” said Monaco. “His leadership at Spectra built it into one of the premier North American gas infrastructure businesses, and over the last five years, his board oversight has been highly supportive of Enbridge’s strategy and execution. Combined with his deep knowledge of the industry, Greg is an excellent choice to lead Enbridge. I wish Greg all the best in his new role and look forward to the continued success of Enbridge.”

“I’ve been honored to lead Enbridge and our tremendously talented and dedicated people over the last decade,” added Mr. Monaco. “I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished together in building the leading diversified energy delivery company in North America. We’ve consistently delivered on our strategic priorities, significantly grown cash flows and the dividend, and we’ve bolstered our financial position, simplified our corporate structure, and lowered costs. We diversified our asset mix by materially increasing our natural gas infrastructure footprint and expanding our world-class low-carbon platform across wind, solar, renewable natural gas, hydrogen and carbon capture.

“The team’s relentless focus and advancements on safety, reliability, customer service, and ESG leadership has provided a solid foundation for the future. Together, we’ve ensured that Enbridge is well positioned for the energy transition, strongly advocated for our industry, and delivered on our purpose to fuel people’s quality of life. I’m confident that the Company and its leadership are in a great position to continue to be disciplined allocators of capital and grow to generate value for our shareholders. I’d like to thank the Board for its ongoing guidance and support of our team,” concluded Monaco.

 

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