Meet CPA Canada member Chris Webster, CGA, CFA, Pengrowth Energy Corporation

Learn about the career path of CPA Canada member Chris Webster, chief financial officer at Pengrowth Energy Corporation.

Chris Webster, chief financial officer at Pengrowth Energy Corporation, is based in Calgary, Alberta, and holds both CGA and CFA designations. Read about his experiences working in industry for more than 25 years.

What are the challenges and advantages you face in your industry?

The oil and gas industry is one that requires significant ongoing capital reinvestment. The current low commodity price environment can disrupt medium- and long-term planning cycles. Striking the correct balance between growth and managing the balance sheet in a low commodity price cycle will challenge the industry. At Pengrowth — an intermediate oil and gas producer in Western Canada — we completed the construction and commissioning of a significant project that is expected to contribute to next year’s growth, underpinned in part by a sizable hedging program. This should allow the company to deliver cash flow growth despite a declining commodity price environment.

What is the best part of your job?

Over the last couple of years I have really enjoyed the strategic planning portion of my job. I have been able to assemble an excellent team which allows me to focus needed time and energy in that area.

Is there anything you wish you knew before you started your current role?

I underestimated how difficult [it is] and how long it takes to institute cultural change within an organization.

What piece of advice would you give someone moving into industry?

Be prepared for change. It sounds cliché, but Canadian-based oil and gas producers must compete in a complex world market.

Describe yourself in three words.

Reliable, humorous, and trusting.

Has there been a defining moment in your career?

I don’t think there is really one single “moment” that has defined my career; it is more an accumulation of both the good and the bad. I was fortunate to have several excellent mentors at different points of my career. Each in their own way made me realize what was important to me and what would be needed to be successful.

What are one or two important concepts or rules that have helped you succeed in your career?

It is the simple stuff: Treat others with respect, take ownership when you are wrong and give credit where credit is due.

If you had your career to do over again, is there anything you would change?

No, not at all.