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Provincial government appoints two oil executives as public members to the U of C Board of Governors

By Ashar Memon, February 8 2019 —

The Alberta provincial government has appointed two oil executives as public members to the University of Calgary’s Board of Governors (BOG), the university announced last week.

Nancy Foster and Fauzia Lalani joined the board for a three-year term on Jan. 22. Foster is currently the senior vice-president of human and corporate resources at Husky Energy, while Lalani is a senior portfolio director at Suncor Energy, according to their respective LinkedIn profiles.

BOG is the highest public governing body at the U of C. Its members have final say over everything from parking fees to appointing and dismissing the university’s president. Of the 21 members on BOG, nine are members of the public.

In a statement to the Gauntlet, BOG chair Jill Wyatt said she is pleased to welcome Foster and Lalani to the board.

“They each bring extensive professional experience to the Board, and are well-respected as community leaders locally, nationally and internationally,” the statement read. “Their voices and insights will be invaluable to us.”

Over the past few years, the board has had a disproportionately high number of members with professional backgrounds in the oil and gas industry. In 2015, for example, at least eight of the board’s members had served as executives or board members for oil and gas-related companies.

Two of those members had served as executives for energy company Enbridge. Another member, then-president Elizabeth Cannon, served on the board of directors for the Enbridge Income Fund.

Cannon later came under fire over her relationship with Enbridge after a CBC investigation alleged that she allowed the company to intervene in the operations of a centre it had funded at the university. Despite calls for her resignation as president, BOG cleared her of any wrongdoing after it commissioned an independent review that found that her conduct did not breach any university policies.

The number of BOG members with backgrounds in the oil and gas industry has decreased since 2015 to at least five members including Foster and Lalani.

Foster joined Husky Energy in 2011, according to a Bloomberg profile. She had previously worked for the company between 1984 and 1993 and had also worked for Nexen, another Calgary-based oil and gas company. A UToday article highlighted Foster’s “extensive oil and gas experience, both domestically and internationally.”

Lalani joined Suncor in 2011, according to her LinkedIn profile. Before that, she served as president and CEO of energy company Fortis between 2000 and 2004. Lalani also held executive roles at Telus.

The UToday article also highlighted Foster and Lalani’s experiences working on non-profit committees around the city.

According to the article, Foster has served on committees for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation and the United Way of Calgary. Lalani has served on the boards of the Calgary YMCA and STARS.

Foster and Lalani replace Firoz Talakshi and Steve Allan, both of whom were appointed to BOG in 2013 and re-appointed in 2016.

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