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Irving Oil president to step down as company undergoes strategic review

FREDERICTON — The president of Irving Oil is stepping down as the company undergoes a strategic review that includes the possible sale of the business.

A news release Monday said Ian Whitcomb has made a "personal decision" to leave after more than eight years on the job, and will continue in his role until June 9.

Chief financial officer Jeff Matthews will lead the strategic review.

Maureen Kempston-Darkes, lead director of Irving Oil's board of directors, said Matthews has been with the company for more than 29 years and understands the evolving needs of customers and communities.

The company has said its strategic review will consider whether the business will be given a new ownership structure, be sold in part or in full or whether there will be changes in its portfolio of assets and how it operates them.

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"The strategic review of the company is ongoing and outcomes associated with it are not yet clear," Kempston-Darkes said in the news release.

Irving Oil operates Canada's largest oil refinery, and has more than 900 gas stations and a network of distribution terminals throughout the East Coast and New England.

There have been other changes in the company's leadership: the website shows Arthur Irving as chairman emeritus, and his daughter, Sarah Irving, who was executive vice president and chief brand officer, is no longer listed. When the strategic review began in June, Arthur Irving was chairman.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs held numerous positions at Irving Oil in Saint John, until his retirement in 2010 when he stepped down as director of logistics and distribution.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2024.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said that Jeff Matthews was taking over Ian Whitcomb's job during the strategic review. In fact, Matthews will lead the review.