Arthur Irving no longer chair of Irving Oil, fuels more speculation about N.B. company’s future

Arthur Irving no longer chair of Irving Oil, fuels more speculation about N.B. company’s future

Arthur Irving is not in his management function at Irving Oil, and his daughter, Sarah Irving, is not a part of the management group, in line with the corporate’s web site, fuelling additional hypothesis about the way forward for certainly one of New Brunswick’s largest employers.

Irving, 93, who was chair of the Saint John-based board of administrators, is now listed as chairman emeritus, whereas Sarah Irving, who was government vice-president and broadly seen as his inheritor obvious, is not listed.

Firm spokesperson Katherine d’Entremont didn’t reply to requests by e mail and cellphone on Tuesday and Wednesday for feedback.

The management adjustments come within the midst of a strategic evaluate that’s evaluating “a sequence of choices” associated to the corporate’s future, together with “a full or partial sale.”

“No selections have been made about the place this strategic evaluate could lead,” Arthur Irving, Sarah Irving and Irving Oil president Ian Whitcomb, mentioned in an announcement final June, when the strategic evaluate was introduced.

Sarah Irving, the previous government vice-president of Irving Oil, is pictured right here at Port Days in 2017, when she instructed attendees her grandfather ‘had a imaginative and prescient’ for the corporate when he began it, and all he hoped it might be. ‘He was considering large, however his roots and his group would at all times be proper right here at dwelling,’ she mentioned. (CBC)

“Issues shall be given to a brand new possession construction, a full or partial sale, or a change within the portfolio of our property and the way we function them,” they mentioned.

With 4,000 workers, the privately held firm is likely one of the strongest within the province.

‘Transition time’

Premier Blaine Higgs, a former Irving Oil government, who labored for the corporate for greater than 30 years, instructed CBC Wednesday he’s shocked and saddened by information of the management adjustments.

“I believe [it] exhibits it’s a transition time for the enterprise,” he mentioned.

“I suppose they’re making large selections about their future.”

In June, Higgs prompt that the federal carbon tax and clear gas requirements have been one of many causes the household was taking a look at promoting. On Wednesday, he pointed once more to the federal local weather insurance policies, saying they “have clearly modified the route in some ways.”

An aerial view of the Irving Oil property feature large barrels with the letters spelling Irving.
Irving Oil’s Saint John refinery is Canada’s largest, processing about 320,000 barrels a day and producing gasoline, diesel, heating oil, jet gas, propane and asphalt. (Mike Heenan/CBC)

Based in 1924 by Arthur’s father, Okay.C. Irving, Irving Oil operates Canada’s largest refinery in Saint John, which processes about 320,000 barrels a day and is New Brunswick’s largest greenhouse gasoline emitter.

The corporate has “greater than 900 fuelling areas and a community of distribution terminals spanning Jap Canada and New England,” in line with its web site.

It additionally operates Eire’s solely refinery, Whitegate, which processes as much as 75,000 barrels a day.

Forbes Journal listed Arthur Irving because the eighth richest individual in Canada in 2023, with an estimated internet price of $5.7 billion. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index lists him as sixth richest, with a complete internet price of about $8 billion.

Might be a ‘precursor’

Trade guide Andrew Lipow mentioned the management adjustments might sign extra adjustments to return.

“It could possibly be a precursor that there’s going to be a possible change within the possession of the corporate, or that … the board of administrators has determined it’s time for new management to be put in, and that’s people who find themselves outdoors of the unique founding household, mentioned Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, based mostly in Houston.

“I believe that the household could have determined that they’d simply merely wish to money out of that funding,” he mentioned, additionally citing the extra stringent federal environmental rules, geared toward decreasing Canada’s greenhouse gasoline emissions over time.

“Irving could also be taking a look at making a major funding with a view to adjust to these rules, and the prevailing possession could have determined that maybe the sale to a 3rd get together with extra financing being obtainable is the way in which to go to take care of and improve their enterprise over the following a number of many years.”

The Saint John refinery is valued at about $2 billion.

It’s troublesome to foretell who a possible purchaser can be, mentioned Lipow.

“It could possibly be a Canadian oil producer. It could possibly be non-public fairness that decides to return in and make an funding. It could possibly be one other worldwide oil main searching for a refining asset by which to monetize their oil manufacturing.”

A possible sale wouldn’t lead to a halting of the refinery’s operations, in line with Lipow. It’s a “main provider” of gasoline and diesel gas into Jap Canada in addition to into New England, he mentioned.

Any adjustments at Irving Oil, nevertheless, can be felt all through the area, Lipow mentioned.

That might embody, for instance, a rebranding of the gasoline stations situated on “many corners,” he mentioned.

‘Revered advisory function’

Because the chairman emeritus of Irving Oil, Arthur Irving “continues to take care of a revered advisory function for the Board and its actions,” the corporate’s web site says.

It beforehand mentioned he was accountable as chairman “for establishing the imaginative and prescient for the corporate and offering total steering to [the] senior management group.”

Sarah Irving was beforehand described as the chief vice-president, who “grew up within the household enterprise, understanding nicely the significance of nice workers and constant prospects in reaching success.”

Sarah Irving isn’t typically heard from in public, however in a speech six years in the past at Port Days, she spoke with pleasure concerning the firm and its legacy.

“When my grandfather Okay.C. Irving based Irving Oil in 1924, he had a imaginative and prescient for our firm,” she mentioned.

“Right here, in Saint John, he noticed many alternatives of a spot with unparalleled pure benefits. And collectively together with his sons Jim, Arthur and Jack, and the numerous devoted workers of Irving Oil, they’d work exhausting to make this imaginative and prescient a actuality, in constructing companies that might span the globe, however at all times stay true to dwelling.”

The remainder of the management group at Irving Oil stays unchanged, in line with the web site. 

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