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Jim Letourneau's Blog

Investing, Technology, Travel, Geology, Music, Golf. I think that covers it.

Grandey's Dandy - Cameco CEO to Retire

I had a chance encounter with Cameco (CCO.TO, CCJ) CEO Jerry Grandey about a year ago at a big boozy dinner coincident with the Saskatchewan Investment Conference. As the mingling ended and time to be seated came  I gradually got to know the stranger sitting on my left. Like so many in the resource business, he has 2 degrees, one in geophysical engineering and one in law. We talked about commodity cycles and how there isn't always strong demand for technical people and then you can't find any when you really need them. He's scheduled to retire on June 30th making room for new blood. Grandey is currently a Director of Sandspring Resources (SSP.V) and the privately held KGL Associates INC so he's unlikely to be bored.

Naturally I asked him a few questions about the uranium business and enjoyed his patient and thoughtful answers. He also had firsthand knowledge of CEO-worthy real estate in Saskatoon. He had a great comment about the uranium speculators that took physical supply and stored it, "uranium is easy to buy but very difficult to sell."

In a recent Globe and Mail "exit" interview he was asked about why he chose to live in Saskatoon. His response was" You’ve got to be at the headquarters. If you expect to be seen as an executive team, you’d damned well better be visible as that team." This is in contrast to the Potash Corp. CEO, Bill Doyle, who was guilted into purchasing a Saskatoon address after Saskatchewan voters found out that he ran the company out of  Chicago. I suspect he didn't get the nicest house in Saskatoon.

Whenever anyone asks me about using social media to promote a company, I direct them to Cameco's website and their CEO's Corner, which consists of short videos of Grandey answering 5-7 different questions per month. I'm surprised at how few companies have emulated this approach to shareholder communication.

I started my Big Picture Speculator Newsletter almost 9 years ago and the first issue featured uranium stocks (which all did extremely well) so it was treat to have things come full circle. Grandey is an bright and engaging CEO, and this year I'll recognize him if I see him in Saskatoon!