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Energy and Resources Former Alberta premier joins Warburg Pincus to focus on Canadian oil and gas investments

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice announces the provincial election in Edmonton, Alta., on April 7. Mr. Prentice resigned as MLA for Calgary-Foothills during his concession speech on election night.

AMBER BRACKEN/The Globe and Mail

Former Alberta premier Jim Prentice has signed on with a U.S. private equity firm with the mission of seeking out investments in Canadian oil and gas.

Mr. Prentice has been named industry adviser to Warburg Pincus LLC's energy group. The firm, with more than $40-billion (U.S.) of assets under management, has interests in several Canadian oil and gas companies, including MEG Energy Corp., Canbriam Energy Inc. and Black Swan Energy Ltd.

Mr. Prentice has kept a low profile after a disastrous 2015 provincial election, in which his Progressive Conservative Party was ejected from power after 44 years in favour of Premier Rachel Notley's New Democrats. The PCs now have the third most seats in the legislature after the right-of-centre Wildrose Party.

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The onetime Conservative cabinet minister in former prime minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government had worked in finance during a hiatus from politics from 2010 to 2014. Then, he was vice-chairman of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

He jumped back into the political arena following the ouster of Alison Redford as Alberta premier and PC party leader in 2014 following a series of spending scandals and a mutiny among some members in her government. Ms. Redford has also recently re-emerged as director of the Canadian Transition Energy Initiative for the Conference Board of Canada.

New York-based Warburg Pincus said Mr. Prentice is a well-known advocate of the Canadian energy industry who has numerous important contacts in the energy and financial industries.

"Jim has deep roots in Canada and his perspective and significant experience will be valuable as we continue to identify attractive investments, particularly in the energy sector and more broadly across the firm's efforts in Canada," Warburg Pincus managing director David Krieger said in a statement.

As premier, Mr. Prentice had initially been seen as a sure-fire leader to keep the provincial Tories in power, but he was forced to deliver an austere budget as crude prices tumbled and prompted a projected multibillion-dollar deficit. The budget, however, spared the corporate sector from any tax hikes even as the government heaped new levies on average citizens.

He also had some public missteps as the vote neared, including striking a behind-the-scenes deal to convince the leader of the Wildrose and several of her colleagues to cross the floor to the PCs, and telling Albertans upset with the province's political and financial situation to "look in the mirror."

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