Nancy Southern is Chair & Chief Executive Officer of ATCO Ltd., and Chair & Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Utilities Limited, an ATCO Company. Reporting to the Boards of Directors, she is responsible for the leadership, strategic direction, and operations of both companies. She also serves as Executive Vice President of Spruce Meadows Ltd. and is a founding Director of AKITA Drilling Ltd., a Director of Sentgraf Enterprises Limited, an Honorary Director of BMO Financial Group, and a Director Emeritus of the Rideau Hall Foundation.
Ms. Southern has long played a prominent role in advocating on social issues of global importance—most notably, the rights of Indigenous peoples and the role of women in business. She is an Honorary Chief of the Kainai (Blood Tribe of Alberta) who bestowed the name Aksistoowa’paakii, or Brave Woman, upon her in 2012.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Southern has served with many respected business and academic organizations. She is a member of the Business Council of Canada, the U.S. Business Council, the American Society of Corporate Executives, and is a Canadian member of the Trilateral Commission. She is also a member of the University of Calgary School of Public Policy Advisory Council.
Ms. Southern is the recipient of numerous honours for her community leadership and commitment to democratic principles and free enterprise. In 2023, she received the Lifetime Business Achievement in the Americas Award from the Canadian Council for the Americas and, in 2022, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce honoured her with the Canadian Business Leader Lifetime Achievement Award. Also in 2022, she was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal and, in 2020, she was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to British equestrian, military, and commercial interests in Alberta. In 2018, she received the Canadian Business Leader Award from the University of Alberta and was named a Distinguished Policy Fellow by the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy in recognition of her lifetime commitment to Canadian public policy. She was inducted as a Companion into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame in 2017.
Ms. Southern has been recognized by Fortune on its list of the “50 Most Powerful Women Outside of the U.S.” as well as its list of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business: The Global 50.” She has been named one of the “50 Most Important People in Canada” by Maclean’s.
Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Ms. Southern studied economics and commerce at the University of Calgary, which also awarded her its highest academic honour, an Honorary Doctor of Laws, in 2014. She also holds Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Mount Royal University, the University of Lethbridge, and Western University.