John (Jack) Archibald Armstrong, OC, business executive, geologist, engineer (born 24 March 1917 in Dauphin, Manitoba; died 26 December 2010 in Nanaimo, BC). Armstrong graduated from the University of Manitoba and worked four decades for Imperial Oil, Canada’s largest oil company. He served as its CEO (1973–81) and chairman (1974–81) before retiring 1982.
Armstrong’s term as CEO was a difficult time for Canada’s oil industry and Imperial. After nearly 30 years of rapid growth, the industry had entered a period of declining supplies and production rates. Prices had spiked. A national controversy erupted over revenue sharing between the oil companies, oil-producing provinces and the federal government (see National Energy Program).
Despite these challenges, under Armstrong, Imperial successfully embarked on the Syncrude megaproject in Alberta’s oil sands. Armstrong led the company’s exploration of Arctic oil and gas reserves. He also supported technological innovation in the industry.
His leadership extended beyond Imperial. He chaired the steering committee of the Commonwealth Study Conference that the Duke of Edinburgh held in Canada in 1980.
Armstrong was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1984. He was inducted into the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame in 2004.