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Fort McKay First Nation’s New Executive Leadership Team Will Continue to Advance Chief and Council’s Vision for Prosperity and Responsible Growth

Press Release

FORT MCKAY, AB, July 13, 2020

  • Fort McKay First Nation’s new CEO of the Administration, Chris Johnson, will create a multi-pronged growth and diversification strategy for Fort McKay’s business development arm in his first 100 days.
  • Dr. Alvaro Pinto, in the new position of CEO of Oilsands Development & Sustainability, will lead the development of Fort McKay’s incorporated oil sands lease in Northern Alberta.

Today, Fort McKay First Nation Chief and Council announced a new Executive Leadership Team that includes Chris Johnson as CEO of the Administration and Dr. Alvaro Pinto as CEO of Oilsands Development & Sustainability, a new position. The new Executive Leadership Team model will support Chief and Council’s long-term vision for prosperity and responsible growth, providing strategic oversight and leadership for the day-to-day administration of the community while continuing to advance growth in Alberta’s oilsands.

“After an extensive recruitment process and speaking with a number of extremely talented executives, we found that the best candidate was our own Chris Johnson” says Chief Mel Grandjamb, Fort McKay First Nation. “Chris has been Fort McKay’s Chief Financial Officer since 2018. He understands the structure of our organization, having designed so many of the systems that have supported our prosperity. We thank George Arcand Jr. for his many years of excellent service as former CEO and we’re confident that Chris will continue to lead our growth in the years ahead.”

The new Executive Leadership Team members follow the announcement in December of 2019 that long time CEO, George Arcand Jr., planned to step down from his position in 2020. In Johnson’s first 100 days as CEO, he plans to create a multi-pronged growth and diversification strategy for Fort McKay’s business development arm. This will include a review of Fort McKay’s current structure to determine how resources can be organized to improve efficiency and create new opportunities for growth.

“I look forward to working with Fort McKay’s Chief and Council in this new capacity and build on the impressive accomplishments of George Arcand Jr.,” says Chris Johnson, CEO of the Administration, Fort McKay First Nation. “This community has an unlimited potential for growth and prosperity. Together with Fort McKay employees and community members, we will continue to invest in meaningful and positive outcomes for our community and our partners.”

The new position of CEO of Oilsands Development & Sustainability will lead Fort McKay’s development of its incorporated oilsands lease, exploring how and when bitumen can be extracted in a responsible and economically viable way. The Nation has been a long-time leaseholder of an area of land located in Northern Alberta.

“How to approach this oil sands lease is a significant undertaking. We needed a capable, trusted professional and advisor to lead this project with such critical implications for the well-being of our community, which is why we appointed our Executive Director of Sustainable Development, Dr. Alvaro Pinto, to this role,” says Chief Grandjamb. “For nine years, Dr. Pinto has provided us with strategic risk assessment and advice on matters related to government and industry, environmental, social and economic development and policies, as well as investments and business opportunities.

As the lead negotiator for Fort McKay’s long-term sustainability agreements, Dr. Pinto has secured significant fiscal, environmental, business, and social benefits for the Nation amounting to over $ 1.5 billion for the next few decades. In Dr. Pinto’s first 100 days as CEO, he will implement a transition plan that will outline approaches to -developing the lease while completing key files such as the Moose Lake Plan and Long-Term Sustainability Agreements.

“We are at the initial phase of exploring the approach and options for the development of this asset. My work will begin with an in-depth analysis of the existing information and a series of studies and analyses to inform our strategy through a sustainability lens. We will strive to be one of Canada’s leaders in responsible resource development” says Dr. Alvaro Pinto, CEO of Oilsands Development and Sustainability, Fort McKay First Nation. “I am honored that Chief and Council have entrusted me with the mission to responsibly develop this lease and produce benefits for the community of Fort McKay for generations to come.”

For more information and to schedule interviews with a Fort McKay spokesperson, please contact:

Tatianna Ducklow
P: 587-897-7430 
Email: [email protected]


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