Eric P. Newell

DirectorEdmonton, Alberta, Canada

Eric Newell is a retired Alberta business executive with a stellar history of corporate leadership and achievement, as well as an exemplary record of service to industry and community.


Mr. Newell served Syncrude Canada Ltd. for 14 years as the company's Chief Executive Officer (1989-2003) and for nine years as Chairman (1994-2003). He also served as President from 1989 to 1997.

Under his leadership Syncrude, which is the world's largest producer of crude oil from oil sand, became a key player in the western Canadian economy, an increasingly significant source of energy supply for the entire nation, and a model of a reliably operated, environmentally efficient, socially responsible corporation. During Mr. Newell's tenure, Syncrude surpassed the billion-barrel production benchmark and embarked on an ambitious multi-billion dollar expansion program that continues today.

As President of the Alberta Chamber of Resources in the mid 1990s, he spearheaded the creation of the National Oil Sands Task Force, which in 1995 developed a comprehensive new energy vision for Canada. This vision led to the large-scale expansion now underway in the oil sands industry.

Through a wide variety of national, regional and local affiliations, Mr. Newell plays an active role promoting and creating opportunity for the wider community. He is well known, for example, for his successful and ongoing efforts to strengthen partnerships between education and business, and for championing corporate social responsibility. Mr. Newell served on the University of Alberta Board of Governors for six years (1996 - 2002), the last four of those years as the Chair. In June, 2004, he was installed as the 18th Chancellor of the University of Alberta. Prior to joining Syncrude, Mr. Newell held a number of positions of increasing challenge and responsibility at Imperial Oil Limited and Esso Petroleum Canada.

Mr. Newell holds a Masters of Science in Management Studies (1968), University of Birmingham, England, and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering (1967), University of British Columbia.  He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence, and has had Honorary Doctorates conferred on him by the University of Lethbridge (2005), University of British Columbia (2003), University of Alberta (2002), Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (2000) and Athabasca University (1995). He has also been honoured by many other organizations whose interests lie in business leadership, education, youth development and public policy. The Energy Council of Canada named him 2003 Energy Person of the Year and he will be inducted into the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame in September, 2010.

Mr. Newell currently serves as Board Chair, CAREERS: The Next Generation; Board Chair, Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation; Board Chair, Alberta Innovate - Energy and Environment Solutions; Vice-Chair, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation; Director, Nexen Inc.; Director, The Gairdner Foundation; Director, TELUS World of Science; Honorary Chair, Centre for Family Literacy; and Policy Advisor to The Learning Partnership.

Mr. Newell resides in Edmonton with his wife, Kathy. They have three adult children, their spouses, and several grandchildren.

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