Encana cuts 15 of workforce and 35 of executives after buying Newfield

CALGARY — The CEO of Encana Corp. says it cut its total workforce by 15 per cent and reduced its ranks of executives by 35 per cent in just over a week after closing its deal to buy U.S. rival Newfield Exploration Co. in mid-February.The move has put Calgary-based Encana, which reports its results in U.S. dollars, on track to realize its vowed annual savings of $250 million from the acquisition, CEO Doug Suttles said on a conference call on Thursday.“Eight days — once again, eight days — after closing, we completed reorganizing the combined company,” he said.“In total, we reduced the executive and senior management roles by 35 per cent and total positions by 15. The senior team of the combined company today is smaller than Encana’s senior team was before the merger.”The company hasn’t said how many employees were laid off, but in U.S. regulatory filings early last year, Newfield reported having 1,010 employees, almost all in the U.S., while Encana had 1,160 staff in Canada and 950 in the U.S.A 15 per cent cut would represent a total of about 470 lost jobs.Related Stories:Wall St Week Ahead-Data will show damage of tariffs, strong dollar on U.S. goods exportersBlackberry plunges to 4-year low in first five minutes of trading on earnings miss, outlook cutThe majority of the reductions occurred in the U.S., said spokeswoman Cindy Hassler in an email that confirmed staffing reductions took place in Calgary, Denver and Houston offices. She wouldn’t comment on total numbers or specify how many jobs were lost in Canada.Suttles said employee cost reductions account for half of the savings — the other half will come by cutting at least $1 million from the cost of each future unconventional well drilled into the Anadarko basin of Oklahoma, formerly owned by Newfield.When announced in November, Encana said the deal was worth about $5.5 billion in shares, but its stock has since fallen by more than 20 per cent. It also adopted $2.2 billion of Newfield debt.Encana has adjusted its exploration priorities in the wake of the Newfield acquisition to focus on three basins — the Anadarko, the Montney of Western Canada, and the Permian of West Texas and New Mexico — because they produce more valuable petroleum liquids and less natural gas than its other prospects.It said it will focus 75 per cent of its 2019 capital budget of $2.7 billion to $2.9 billion on those three plays.Encana reported a fourth-quarter profit of US$1.03 billion or $1.08 per share for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $229 million or 24 cents per share in the last three months of 2017.Operating earnings for the quarter amounted to $305 million or 32 cents per share, up from an operating profit of $114 million or 12 cents per share a year earlier.Revenue for the quarter was $2.38 billion, up from $1.21 billion.Total production in the fourth quarter of 2018 was 403,400 barrels of oil equivalent per day, up from 335,200 a year ago.Encana shares rose by 5.2 per cent at $9.52 in afternoon trading Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange as analyst reports indicated its fourth-quarter results were largely in line with expectations. read more

Choir program launched by Brock prof making music accessible to kids

They range in age, gender, location and socio-economic status, but when the 35 youths making up Tomorrow’s Voices step onto stage, they’re all the same.When Brock University Associate Professor of Marketing Todd Green launched Choir Nation last year, he wanted the for-profit enterprise to have a social component.The answer was Tomorrow’s Voices, a choir composed of 35 kids between seven and 17 who have been recruited from Niagara groups such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Community Care and the DSBN Academy.Tomorrow’s Voices aims to open the doors to music and choir to all kids — regardless of what social issues they might be dealing with.“I think music for young people is really important for development and bringing kids from different backgrounds and age ranges together,” said Green. “The idea is to move away from the adage that kids should be seen and not heard. Our slogan is kids should be heard.”There’s no cost to take part, and there were no auditions. If kids wanted to be part of the program, they were in.Kassandra Britt says going to choir is one of the highlights of her 13-year-old daughter’s week.“She can’t wait to see her friends and sing new songs,” Britt says. “The choir helps her forget about everything she’s going through and allows her to just have fun.”Green said that the program has received significant support from Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts, as well as from TD Bank, which has donated nearly $5,000 to help fund the program.The reception from the music community has been overwhelmingly positive.Canadian singer-songwriter Royal Wood is an ambassador for the program and will be part of the first Tomorrow’s Voices public performance taking place Wednesday, Nov. 22 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are $15 with all proceeds going back to fund the program. Katey Gatta, a local Niagara musician and former Brock student, will also perform.After that, Tomorrow’s Voices will sing with Serena Ryder during the Juno award winner’s show on Dec. 14 in Burlington, and the group will sing the national anthem at a Toronto Marlies game in January.In addition to helping the kids learn more about music, Green said the choir program will also help with Brock-led research on the impact being part of Tomorrow’s Voices has on the participants’ emotions and self-esteem. read more