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Donald D. (Don) Ritz

Former SVP Safety and Leadership at Barrick Gold
Former Loss Management Executive at Syncrude Canada

Now an independent consultant and a John Maxwell Certified Coach and Speaker, up to mid 2013, Mr. Ritz was with Barrick Gold Corporation as the Senior Vice President, Safety and Leadership and was a member of the Senior Leaders Team. Don is an acknowledged leader in corporate loss mitigation and risk management through the creation and implementation of environment, health and safety policies and programs in the petroleum, mining and construction sectors. Since mid 2009, he had also assumed responsibility for the people side of the organization including HR, OE and leadership development. Don also developed Courageous Leadership for Safety and Health, and guided the development and implementation of the Barrick Leadership Development Program – “Touchstone”.

Barrick is a leading international gold company with among the largest market capitalizations in the industry. The company has had operating mines and development projects in the United States, Peru, Tanzania, Zambia, Chile, Argentina, Australia, PNG, and Canada. Since joining Barrick, the Safety and Health performance improved over 75% mainly through the innovative Courageous Leadership program of which Mr. Ritz was the chief architect.

Prior to joining Barrick, Mr. Ritz was Syncrude Canada Ltd.’s Loss Management Executive.

Syncrude operates a large integrated industrial complex to produce crude oil from oil sand, and is one of the country’s largest crude oil producers. Under his guidance, Syncrude achieved one of the best records for industrial health, safety and environmental performance among Canadian industrial concerns. In 1997, Mr. Ritz led the integration of all of the company’s environment, health and safety initiatives into its overall management system, a move which has set the stage for continued improvement in the company’s safety and loss management performance.

Mr. Ritz’s career at Syncrude spanned more than 28 years in various managerial and senior management roles. He has extensive familiarity with all aspects of the company’s technical support, production and operations areas. Prior to Syncrude, Mr Ritz spent 11 years in operating positions and as a Chemist with Texaco Canada Ltd.

Mr. Ritz’s counsel and expertise are sought by industry, education groups and as a conference speaker. He has served the Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board of Directors as Vice-Chairman. He also has served as Past Chairperson of the Advisory Committee, University of Alberta Industrial Safety and Loss Management Program; Member of the National Advisory Committee, North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation; Chairperson of the Safety Committee, Construction Owners Association of Alberta; Executive Member of the Board of Directors, Alberta Construction Safety Association; Member of the University of Calgary Risk Communications Committee and member of the Advisory Board, Job Safety Skills Society.

Mr. Ritz also received the prestigious Canadian Petroleum Safety Council’s “Achiever/Leadership” Award 1999, Construction Owners Association of Alberta Excellence in Construction Safety recognition (2002) International Society of Mine Safety Professionals (ISMSP) esteemed Leadership Award in 2009, Mining Industry Roundtable Health and Safety Recognition (2010) and was recognized as the University of Alberta Stollery Executive in Residence in 1999.

Don Ritz holds a Bachelor of Science degree (1970) from the University of Alberta. He has done course work toward a Masters in Business Administration and is a graduate of the Operations Management Program at the University of Western Ontario School of Business Administration as well as the Executive Development Program, Texas A&M University.


Hans van Nues

Former VP Finance Projects, VP Finance Technical & CFO STV at Shell
Former Senior Director, Oil & Gas MENA at EY

Hans van Nues is a seasoned finance professional with significant business acumen in the oil & gas industry.  With some 30 years of experience in 13 different Finance roles and in 8 countries and global roles, Hans has considerable expertise with global portfolio management, strategy development, and project performance management. He has been involved with deal making, finance governance, control & reporting, amongst several other initiatives such as the creation and implementation of multi business/Functional Standardization programs of tools & processes.

In his last role at Shell, Hans served as VP Finance, Technical & CFO of Shell Technology Ventures where he was responsible for the finance management of EP’s technology organization of some 3000 staff with primary locations in the Netherlands, US and UK. Subsequently he became the first ever VP Finance, Projects in Shell where he led and developed a global performance management system, led and developed a “Finance in Projects” (FIP) program which included development a FIP learning curriculum, creation of a global FIP community  and implemented and agreed multi-functional standard procedures and processes.    In 2010 he set up TOPNU Business Consultancy, and in January 2012 he joined EY as the Senior Director, Oil & Gas MENA where he lead and contributed to the delivery of various engagements for various clients e.g. Capital Portfolio Management, Manpower Optimization, Finance Transformation and Project Readiness Assessment.


Richard E. Thayer

Senior organization effectiveness consultant

I work with corporate, government, and non-profit companies, agencies, and organizations in articulating, planning, and implementing successful strategic change programs. My specialty is quickly understanding an organization’s needs and translating their aspirations into effective change programs. I work from a systems view that encourages a deep understanding behind symptoms to the underlying causes and dynamics. My track record includes successful efforts ranging from teams and departments in small to medium-sized enterprises up through strategic initiatives across global corporations and non-profits.

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