Arthur Irving, Canadian Billionaire and Irving Oil Chairman, Dies at 93

Arthur L. Irving, the 93-year-old billionaire chairman of Irving Oil, has passed away, marking the end of an era for one of Canada's most influential and private business families, with significant implications for the energy industry in Atlantic Canada as it transitions away from fossil fuels. Irving Oil, which operates Canada's largest refinery, remains a major economic force, but its future is uncertain amidst the shift towards renewable energy." This description focuses on the primary topic of Arthur Irving's passing, the main entity of Irving Oil, and the context of the energy industry in Atlantic Canada. It also highlights the significant implications of his death on the industry and the company's uncertain future, providing objective and relevant details that will guide the AI in creating an accurate visual representation of the article's content.

author-image
Nitish Verma
New Update
Arthur Irving, Canadian Billionaire and Irving Oil Chairman, Dies at 93

Arthur Irving, Canadian Billionaire and Irving Oil Chairman, Dies at 93

Arthur L. Irving, one of Canada's richest people and the chairman of Irving Oil, died on Monday, May 13, 2024, at the age of 93. Irving was the son of industrialist K.C. Irving and had an estimated net worth of US$6.4 billion at the time of his death.

Why this matters: The passing of Arthur Irving marks the end of an era for one of Canada's most influential and private business families, with significant implications for the energy industry in Atlantic Canada. As the world transitions away from fossil fuels, Irving Oil's future and the legacy of its leaders will be closely watched.

Born in 1930, Irving attended Acadia University in Nova Scotia before joining Irving Oil in 1951, where he worked with his father and two brothers. He became president of the company in 1972 and was chairman emeritus when he died. Irving Oil, which he led, operates Canada's largest refinery in New Brunswick and the Whitegate refinery in Ireland.

Irving is credited with modernizing the nation's largest refinery and expanding a network of service stations in Saint John, New Brunswick. He was described by Irving Oil as "a steadfast champion of Atlantic Canada and its people" and one of a kind.

Irving's life was marked by family difficulties, including a contentious 1980 divorce with his first wife and estrangement from his eldest son, Kenneth. In 2010, Kenneth departed from the company after a falling out, leading to a poignant scene at a Saint John news conference in 2013, where Irving stood alone, surrounded by admirers, but without his family.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Irving's business life and interests were tightly tied to his two brothers, J.K. and Jack, as they took primary responsibility for different segments of the business empire their father had created. In 2009, the three Irving brothers separated their business interests, with Arthur assuming control of the energy business.

Irving's death comes as the company's Saint John refinery is undergoing a "strategic review" to determine its future, amidst a shift away from fossil fuels in some nations due to climate change. "I had the choice to go on at Acadia or learn about business from the best teacher available anywhere — my father," Irving told author Donald Savoie in his 2020 book about Irving Oil. "I went with the best teacher."

Arthur Irving leaves behind a legacy as a Canadian business titan who helped shape the energy industry in Atlantic Canada. His passing marks the end of an era for one of the country's most influential and private business families. Irving Oil, the company he led for decades, remains a major economic force, even as it faces an uncertain future in a world increasingly looking to transition away from fossil fuels.

Key Takeaways

  • Arthur L. Irving, Canada's richest person, died at 93 on May 13, 2024.
  • Irving was chairman of Irving Oil, with an estimated net worth of $6.4 billion.
  • He modernized Canada's largest refinery and expanded a network of service stations.
  • Irving's death marks the end of an era for one of Canada's most influential business families.
  • Irving Oil faces an uncertain future amidst a shift away from fossil fuels.