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Speaker Bios & Headshots

March 1, 2023

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Alex Pourbaix

President & Chief Executive Officer, Cenovus Energy

As President & Chief Executive Officer of Cenovus Energy, Alex is responsible for establishing the strategic direction for the company and delivering strong financial, operational and sustainability performance. Alex took on the leadership role in November 2017. He is also a Director of the company.

Prior to joining Cenovus, Alex spent 27 years with TC Energy and its affiliates in a broad range of leadership roles including Chief Operating Officer, where he was responsible for the company’s commercial activity and overseeing major energy infrastructure projects and operations. He also has experience in corporate strategy, business development, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, as well as stakeholder relations.

Alex currently serves on the boards of Canadian Utilities Limited and the Business Council of Canada, and the Board of Governors at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) as Past Chair. He is Board Chair at Mount Royal University and a member of the Business Council of Alberta. Alex also serves on the Alberta Regional Board of Nature Conservancy Canada. He was previously Board Chair for the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association and a board member at Trican Well Service Ltd.

Alex is active in the community, having served on the boards of several local charities, including many years as a dedicated volunteer for the United Way.

Alex earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Alberta.

Bijan Agarwal

President, ConocoPhillips Canada

Previously, he was the president & general manager, Indonesia, a role he assumed in November 2016. Agarwal began his career with Phillips Petroleum Co. in 1986 as a reservoir engineer in Borger, Texas. In 1991, he moved to the Reservoir Management group in Bartlesville, Okla. Since then, he has held several upstream engineering and leadership positions in Norway, the U.K. and Dubai. He was named director, Upstream Capital Investments in 2004, where he developed an executive learning program on managing major capital investments. He was appointed subsurface manager for the Qatargas LNG megaproject in Doha in 2006. In 2008, Agarwal relocated to Calgary, Canada as vice president, North Area Development, Western Canada Gas. He was named vice president, Commercial Assets for ConocoPhillips Alaska in 2010, and in 2015 he was named vice president, Rockies Business Unit, where his responsibilities included the San Juan, Bakken, Niobrara, Wyoming and Utah assets.

Agarwal earned a Bachelor of Science in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M University, a Master of Science from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and a Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London. He received his Master of Business Administration from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University in 2007.

Agarwal is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. He has served on the boards of the Indonesian Petroleum Association and USINDO, as well as the United Way of Anchorage.

Arlene Strom

Chief Sustainability Officer & General Counsel, Suncor

Arlene Strom, chief sustainability officer, general counsel and corporate secretary, is responsible for all legal matters across the corporation. As chief sustainability officer, Arlene plays a key role in stewarding Suncor’s many external relationships and strategic collaborations in support of the company’s ongoing economic, environmental and social performance leadership. Arlene also oversees Suncor’s sustainability strategy, public policy and government relations efforts; internal and external communications; and she is responsible for the continued deepening of the company’s Indigenous, stakeholder, and community relations.

Since joining Suncor in the corporate legal group in September 2003, Arlene has held a number of leadership positions within the company, including vice president of Sustainability & Communications. Prior to joining Suncor she practiced corporate and securities law in Calgary.

Arlene is the Chair of the Suncor Energy Foundation as well as Chair of Suncor’s Inclusion and Diversity Council. She is also the Chair of the Alberta Lieutenant Governor’s Arts Awards Foundation and a member of the board of the Calgary Zoo.

Arlene has a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from Trinity Western University, and a master of arts degree in public policy and an LLB from the University of British Columbia. She is also a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Kris Smith

Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, Suncor Energy

Since joining Suncor in 2000, Kris has held a variety of operational and corporate roles. Prior to being appointed Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, Kris was Executive Vice President of Downstream for nine years, where he had responsibility for all of the company’s refining and marketing assets in Canada and the United States, as well as Suncor’s supply and trading and Suncor’s renewable energy businesses.  Before this role, Kris was Senior Vice-President of Supply, Trading and Corporate Development, accountable for the company’s supply and marketing activities, as well as corporate strategic planning.  From 2007 to 2012, Kris was based in Fort McMurray at Suncor’s Oil Sands Base Plant as part of the oil sands leadership team, managing production planning and logistics, and Suncor’s power generation, transmission assets and utility operations. Prior to that Kris was part of  Suncor’s U.S. downstream leadership team leading strategic planning, business development and corporate services for Suncor’s U.S. refining and marketing business.

Kris sits on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, and is also a past Chair and director of the Canadian Fuels Association.  Kris also sits on the Board of Directors of Actua, Canada’s largest science, technology, engineering and mathematics youth outreach organization and Evok Innovations, a technology and innovation fund established by Suncor Energy and Cenovus. 

Kris graduated from the University of Alberta in 1992 and received his Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University in 1995. Kris has also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. Prior to joining Suncor, Kris was a lawyer at a respected law firm in Calgary, Alberta and has also been a member of both the Alberta and Colorado bars.

Sherri Evers

Vice-President, Commercial & Corporate Development

Sherri Evers was appointed vice-president, commercial and corporate development, effective January 1, 2021.

Ms. Evers has worked for Imperial for over 22 years in a range of positions within the downstream, beginning in 1998 in the Edmonton marketing office.  Within the downstream, Ms. Evers held various assignments, including sales, logistics, pricing and analysis within refining and supply.  Ms. Evers worked as the marine manager in 2006 and moved into the role of Canada pricing and logistics manager a few years later.  In 2012, Ms. Evers began a series of global assignments with Exxon Mobil Corporation in Fairfax, VA and in Houston, TX as manager of business planning center of excellence, the integrated business team lead for the Midwest northeast U.S. fuels business, and then as the Americas exchange and analysis manager for the third party business.

In 2018, Ms. Evers returned to Canada as the Eastern Canada Fuels Manager for the Downstream.

Ms. Evers is Canadian and holds a bachelor of commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Marketing and General Business.

Kendall Dilling 

President, Pathways Alliance

As President, Pathways Alliance, Kendall is responsible for the overall coordination of technology, project development and external relations on behalf of the Alliance members. Kendall took on the leadership role in June 2022.  

Prior to his role at Pathways Alliance, Kendall was Cenovus Energy’s Vice-President, Environment & Regulatory, where he was responsible for environmental strategy, managing the regulatory process for major approvals and leading environmental policy advocacy efforts with various levels of government. He also led the Cenovus military liaison team, which works closely with the Canadian military to coordinate oil and gas activities on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range near Cenovus’s operations. 

With nearly 30 years in the oil and gas industry, Kendall has expertise in various areas, including environment, regulatory, health and safety, Indigenous and stakeholder relations, surface land and business development. Prior to his work at Cenovus, Kendall worked in environmental consulting and for various Canadian and multi-national pipeline and energy companies.  

Kendall holds a Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Arts and an MBA from the University of Calgary. He sits on several committees at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and serves on the boards of the Canadian Energy Research Institute and the Alberta Orphan Well Association.  

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