Suncor president and CEO Mark Little prepares to address the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 2, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY — Suncor Energy Inc. says Mark Little has stepped down as president and chief executive officer and resigned from its board of directors, effective immediately.

Calgary-based Suncor says in a release Friday that it is committed to achieving safety and operational excellence, but has fallen short and recognizes the critical need for change.

The announcement came a day after the company announced that a contractor was killed at its Base Mine north of Fort McMurray, Alta.

Since 2014, there have been at least 12 deaths at Suncor sites, more than all of its oilsands rivals combined.

The fatalities have caught the attention of activist investor Elliot Investment Management, who earlier this spring pointed a finger at Suncor’s safety record as part of its case for an overhaul of the company’s board and management.

Board chairman Michael Wilson said in the release Friday that Kris Smith, who is currently executive vice-president of Suncor’s Downstream division, has been named interim CEO.

“Suncor is committed to achieving safety and operational excellence across our business, and we must acknowledge where we have fallen short and recognize the critical need for change,” said Wilson.

“We commend Mark for his professionalism and the exceptional work he did to guide Suncor through the pandemic and lead our sector’s progressive approach to the energy transition. We thank him for his years of service with the company and wish him well.”

Suncor says its board has formed a committee to conduct a global search to select the company’s next CEO and is engaging a global executive recruiting firm to help with the process.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:SU)

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