The issue backgrounders selected and published on this page were developed in the second-year financial public relations course (currently PUBR 2845) as part of Mount Royal University’s public relations program. Students select an organization to analyze in terms of issues of importance to investors and connected stakeholders.

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Cenovus Energy Inc. Merger with Husky Energy and How it is Impacting Jobs in the Corporation by Braden Istace (FIRST PLACE)

Recently, Cenovus Energy Inc. announced they had acquired Husky Energy in a $3.8 billion transaction (Gibson, 2020, para. 1). The merger is expected to help economically in the long run; however, the merger will result in the cut of approximately 25 per cent of the workforce or about 8600 employees (Gibson, 2020, para. 2). Large consolidation in the oil and gas industry continues to hurt jobs in Canada and during a pandemic it can cause a real crisis. If Cenovus Energy Inc. can keep job losses to a minimum it would help their image and keep valuable jobs in the fossil fuel sector alive in Canada.

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West Fraser Timber Co.: Corporate Social Responsibility and Managing Reputation by Megan Pearson (SECOND PLACE)

In 2019, West Fraser Timber Co.’s product sales were $4.9 billion (West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., n.d.-b). Its total capital was $3.5 billion, “including $663 million in long-term debt and $2.5 billion in total shareholder equity” (West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., n.d.-b). Although this company has seen considerable financial success, West Fraser Timber Co. certainly has room for improvement when it comes to corporate social responsibility.

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Lululemon Athletica (LULU): Leadership Changes & Organizational Culture by Jayden Stauffer (THIRD PLACE)

While experiencing multi-year growth, lululemon has faced a number of ethical challenges and received negative attention surrounding top brand executives that have plagued the otherwise thriving company. Behaviour from lululemon founder and former CEO, Chip Wilson has harmed the brand’s reputation on multiple occasions, ultimately leading to lululemon’s board advising Wilson to refrain from further public statements and eventually, his removal from any formal role in the company in 2015 (Peterson, 2015). Even after Wilson’s tumultuous tenure came to a close, lululemon has continued to struggle with allegations made against company leadership and a shaky string of CEO scandals that have tainted the company’s reputation, ultimately impacting its performance in the marketplace (Tozer, 2018).

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2021 Issue Backgrounders Coming Soon!

Join us for the Western Communication Report’s third annual launch on April 14, 2021 at 4 p.m. when the winning issue backgrounder will be announced.