Contact Us Sitemap Links
spacer spacerHome > Honoured Members > Charles (Charlie) Wayne Fischer
Charles Fischer text bar

Charles (Charlie) Wayne Fischer


For nearly 40 years, Charles Wayne Fischer crafted a career in the Canadian oil and gas industry that took him from the gas fields of central Alberta to the searing heat of the north African desert; from the frozen tundra of the Mackenzie Delta to the storm-tossed waters of the North Sea.


Along the way, he made countless friends, but he stayed pretty much out of the public eye, even though his trademark handlebar mustache was as much a symbol of Nexen Inc. in the last eight years of his career as a similar facial adornment came to symbolize the powerhouse Calgary Flames of the late 1980s.


Like many who came to the Calgary-based oil and gas industry before him, Charlie was born one province to the east, in 1950, and took his schooling at the University of Calgary, graduating in 1971 with a degree in chemical engineering.


Charlie's work history is familiar to most: he joined Dome Petroleum Limited the spring he graduated before moving on to Hudson's Bay Oil and Gas Company Ltd. in 1978. He joined Bow Valley Industries Ltd. as vice-president in 1982 and, in 1988, moved to the TransCanada Corporation family as president and chief executive officer of Encor Energy Corp., serving in that position until Encor was acquired by Talisman Energy Inc. in the spring of 1993.


In 1994, Charlie joined Canadian Occidental Petroleum Ltd. as vice-president, exploration and production for North America, and rose quickly through the ranks of CanOxy Corp., becoming executive vice-president and chief operating officer in 1997 and president and chief executive officer of Nexen in 2001, a post he held until his retirement at the end of 2008.


Having mentored at the elbows of such industry icons as Gerry Maier, Dick Haskayne and Daryl (Doc) Seaman, Charlie himself became a source of outstanding leadership, both within the industry and in helping those outside gain a better understanding of the industry.


He served as chairman of both the old Independent Petroleum Association of Canada and of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), and in those capacities worked closely with government, regulators, the press and the public to ensure that the industry was properly understood.


One of those he worked closely with was Pierre Alvarez, former president of CAPP and now chair of the Canadian Centre for Energy and Nexen's vice-president, corporate relations.


"While many business halls of fame focus primarily on financial cri­teria…the Petroleum Hall of Fame has always taken a slightly different path by ensuring that its honourees did not just keep score by profit margin, but used their success to improve the lives of the people they touched," Pierre wrote in a letter to the Hall supporting Charlie's nomination. "With that in mind, I can think of no better inductee than Charlie."


While Charlie took a short break after his retirement to examine his options, he wasn't out of the public eye long. He has been co-chair of Alberta Climate Change Central and, in 2009, he was named to the board of Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation; in that same year, the Energy Council of Canada named him Canadian Energy Person of the Year while the Alberta Chamber of Resources named him Resource Person of the Year.


Charlie has always been an active member of the community. He's served two terms on the Board of Governors at his alma mater, the University of Calgary, and is currently vice-chair of that board, and has served for eight years on the Faculty of Management Advisory Council.


At the Alberta Children's Hospital, Charlie served on the board for 12 years, including two as chair. In addition to co-chairing a $52-million fundraising campaign, he was instrumental in ensuring the government fulfilled its commitment to build the hospital in 2006, and Charlie and his wife, Joanne Cuthbertson, are prime funders of the Cuthbertson-Fischer chair in Paediatric Mental Health.
Charlie has also leant his support to a number of other organizations, including Hull Child and Family Services where he served as chair for two years, the Canada West Foundation where he is the current vice-chair, the Calgary Airport Authority, SAIT Polytechnic and Education Matters.


Copyright © 2019 Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame. All Rights Reserved.