An inspiring leader can be difficult to replace, and this was one of the challenges we faced in 2010 with the retirement of Hal Kvisle. For more than a decade, Hal inspired others by demonstrating his and the company's values — delivering results.
Orchestrating a smooth transition was a critical task for us, one that was a joint undertaking for both the Board and the CEO. Importantly, and to his credit, Hal communicated his impending departure and worked tirelessly grooming executives in the company.
We engaged external resources, and broadened the experience base of candidates allowing us a clear view of their capabilities. It was no accident that Russ Girling was positioned to succeed. His placement in high-level leadership positions over the last number of years ensured a smooth transition would occur when the time came for him to sit in the President and CEO's chair.
Succession is always important and the process in TransCanada is well crafted.
The Board and I wish Hal the best in his retirement and look forward to Russ continuing to grow long-term value for our shareholders, with the support of an experienced and capable executive leadership team.
This is an exciting time to guide TransCanada. Execution of the company's ambitious $20 billion capital program, managing the issues surrounding the low gas price environment and the political challenges of cross border pipelines are not insignificant. Fortunately, the strategies for success have been set by Hal and other leaders — strategies Russ was instrumental in developing over the last decade.
Successful execution of those strategies for any company involves creating the right work environment. TransCanada received important recognition on this front in 2010. The company was included in Canada's top 100 employers, Alberta's top 50 employers for 2011, best employer for new Canadians and best diversity employer. TransCanada also maintained its ranking on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the ninth consecutive year — one of only two Canadian energy companies to attain this recognition.
Beyond the internal support, the Board must also ensure the needs for retention and fair compensation for TransCanada's leadership team are balanced with actual performance and creation of shareholder value. Accommodating equity support for projects that deliver results beyond the term of compensation programs while diluting short term metrics requires some finesse. These are not formula driven tasks and I believe the Board has exercised prudent judgment in that balance.
To support that view, this year, the company has made a concerted effort to ensure shareholders understand the thorough processes at work in TransCanada. Often, actual practice surpasses the disclosure in the annual documents. To further exhibit transparency, much of the disclosure has been enhanced to more effectively close this gap.
There are many definitions of success but any form of success is dependent on dedication and effort. TransCanada continues to benefit from the daily, ongoing efforts of its 4,200 employees. It is the sum of these efforts that equals true success and for that I and my fellow Board members offer our thanks. Similarly, we offer our sincere thanks to Kerry Hawkins for his ongoing contributions as he is retiring from the Board after 15 years of dedicated service to shareholders and management.
On behalf of the Board of Directors;
S. Barry Jackson