Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Changes at the top of the coal pile

“The board is looking for some new direction, and we’re hoping this will be an amicable departure,”— A short and succinct, comment from Byng Giraud of Ridley Terminals Incorporated, announcing the departure of senior managers at the Prince Rupert Terminal.

The Dan Veniez era took a little time to get started, but decisions made at Ridley Terminals last week and an announcement released on Monday signal a change in direction for one of Prince Rupert’s largest employers and perhaps the revealing of his long term plans for the North coast coal terminal on Ridley Island.

The controversial Veniez, the former president of the stillborn New Skeena Forest Products was frequently in the news and in the public eye during his stewardship of the forest company in the turbulent years of extinction at Watson Island.

He was the eye of the hurricane at the time, a frequent guest on a local talk show and ringmaster of the public debate over the future of the mill at that time, including a still talked about public town hall meeting during the tempest that became New Skeena. His arrival and departure was much discussed and debated at the time, with his comments leaving lasting memories in the city, which to this day can still stir up a heated debate.

Upon his return as Chairman of Ridley Terminals, many were waiting for the return of those emotional days, but over the last five months his has been a very low profile, perhaps more inclined to the details of the backrooms, than the airing of corporate agendas in a public forum.

Even with the dramatic news of the departures of President and CEO Greg Slocombe and Chief Financial Officer Cam MacIntye the commentary from Mr. Veniez has been quite muted, in fact news of the departures of the two senior managers at RTI was left to be delivered by Byng Giraud who spoke on behalf of the board members.

Taking over at the top will be George Dorsey who was named as President and Chief Operation Officer on Monday, Dorsey who was providing detailed consultations into the inner workings of RTI, apparently did such a thorough job that he was quickly tagged as the potential replacement at Ridley.

A number of news sources have tracked the story since the rumours first started filtering out over the weekend of “big changes at Ridley”, with three senior positions reportedly affected at the time. The Northern View posted a report on their website on Tuesday, while the Vancouver Sun provided an edited version of the Daily News coverage of Monday.

The Daily News had confirmed two of the names on Monday, featuring the developments as the front page story in the paper. Locals will be watching with interest over the next few months to see what next develops atop those piles of coal...

Greg Slocombe and Cam McIntyre move on as a new senior manager takes reins
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Monday, May 26, 2008
Pages one and five

Ridley Terminals Inc., announced Friday that Greg Slocombe, president and chief operating officer, and Cam McIntyre, chief financial officer and operations manager, have both resigned from the company.

The company made the announcement and indicated that effectively immediately George Dorsey has been appointed RTI’s new President and Chief Operating Officer,.

Speaking on behalf of the RTI board members, Chairman of Corporate Affairs Committee of the Board Byng Giraud described the scenario as happening by way of a “mutual agreement.”

The RTI board last met and discussed the executive shuffle last May 12, and it was a consensus of the board at that time that Slocombe and McIntyre were no longer the ideal persons for their positions.

“The board is looking for some new direction, and we’re hoping this will be an amicable departure,” said Giraud.

”In the long and short term our goal is to make sure (RTI) is on strong and sound financial footing and make sure this is an asset so the federal government can decide what its long-term future is. That would be the government’s decision, but our obligation is to make sure the place is not a drain on the public purse and that it’s a good stable source of employment and community building in that area.”

Giraud said RTI has certainly been a good, stable place to work in past years, but that there are certainly improvements that can be made to its financial viability and cost of operation, and said it has the potential to move more product through the facility. He said incoming President and Chief Operation Officer George Dorsey has considerable experience, and with the help of the board and the government will make sure RTI continues to be an asset that the people of Northwest British Columbia can be proud of.

Dorsey is Chief Executive Officer of Edgewood Holdings, LLC, and has served in senior management roles at Coffeyville Resources, Aquila Energy (senior vice president), Duke Energy (group vice president), Euro Brokers Incorporated, Associated Metals and Minerals Corporation, Pechiney Ugine Kuhlmann, and Merrill Lynch.

Dorsey’s industrial experience covers natural gas, oil, petrochemicals, air emission allowances, agricultural chemicals, metals, coal, petroleum coke, and other bulk raw materials. He serves on the board of directors of Traxys SA, with worldwide commodity sales exceeding $2.5 billion.

“RTI is a key strategic asset to Canada as a critical gateway to Asian and other world markets,” said Daniel D. Veniez, chairman of RTI.

“Our board and management team will place an aggressive and focused emphasis on attracting new business, developing creative and stronger partnerships throughout the supply chain, and investing heavily to improve our productivity and service to customers.”

Ridley Terminals Inc. is a bulk-handling terminal located on Ridley Island in Prince Rupert with a capacity of 16.5 million tones, and is a federal Crown corporation.

Ridley Terminals makes major changes to management
By Shaun Thomas
The Northern View

May 27, 2008

The board of Ridley Terminals in Prince Rupert announced a major shake up of the company’s management, parting ways with both President and Chief Operating Officer Greg Slocombe and Chief Financial Officer and Operations Manager Cam McIntyre.

“The board, which is almost entirely new, has a specific direction they would like to go in terms of operating the facility and it was felt that a new management team would probably be in better keeping with that direction. We worked with the existing management team for a while and it was determined that perhaps a different team would be more appropriate for the direction we wanted to go,” explained board spokesperson Byng Giraud.

“Change always brings uncertainty and we are conscience of the community of Prince Rupert and that this is a long standing asset and that there is perhaps some uncertainty. People shouldn’t feel that way… Our mandate is simply to run the place well and make sure that it is a stable facility that doesn’t cost the government money and creates jobs and we’re committed to that and the stability of the facility.”

Noting that the company made “fair concessions” to the departing staff, Giraud added that the newly appointed President and COO George Dorsey is someone who is quite familiar with the facility and its operations.

“We were using Mr. Dorsey as a consultant to assess the status of the facility as it stands. He’s not from the natural resource sector, he’s from the terminal shipping and materials sector, and we had used him to assess the status of the organization and what it’s potential was,” he explained.

“We found the work he had done was pretty exemplary so we decided to ask him if he would take over the senior position.”

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