Irving Oil Names Deloitte Partner Whitcomb as President

Irving Oil Ltd. appointed Deloitte LLP’s Ian Whitcomb president, as the closely held owner of Canada’s largest refinery continues to fight a lawsuit from a prior chief executive officer.

Irving, which is controlled by billionaire Arthur Irving and his family, also named former general manager of refining and supply Mark Sherman as its chief operating officer, the Saint John, New Brunswick-based company said in a statement Thursday. Arthur’s daughter, Sarah Irving, has been named executive vice president.

Whitcomb, who worked with Irving as a partner at Deloitte, takes the helm as Irving Oil confronts a lawsuit from Mike Ashar, a former CEO who is seeking more than C$50 million ($40 million) in compensation and damages he alleges is owed to him. The company has denied his claims.

“Mr. Whitcomb brings a deep understanding of our company through his thirty years of working with Irving Oil in his role with Deloitte,” Irving said in the statement. Whitcomb “has worked closely with many at Irving Oil, helping to guide strategy and keep our company focused on its goals.”

The appointment follows the departure in August of Paul Browning, who had replaced Ashar.

Irving Oil produces more than 300,000 barrels a day of products including gasoline and diesel at its Saint John refinery on Canada’s Atlantic Coast. More than half of its output is sent to the U.S. Northeast.

The company has commitments to take crude from TransCanada Corp.’s C$12 billion proposed Energy East pipeline, which would connect western Canadian supplies to the Atlantic Coast. Irving Oil is also working with TransCanada on a C$300 million marine terminal at Saint John’s deep-water port that could export crude from the pipeline.

(An earlier version of this story corrected the currency conversion in the third paragraph.)

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