Director Profile

Cynthia Johnston

Board Value Proposition: 

P&L Accountability and Leadership

  • Senior executive with $4 billion natural gas, wind, hydro, solar generation assets across five provinces and three US states. Capital project execution to sustain assets, risk management, and all joint ventures and partnerships related to the business.

Strategic Planning and Execution

  • Deep experience developing and implementing integrated business strategies and plans, with a strong track record for delivering results and execution, including: three-year business and technology plan for the post-acquisition integration of a renewable energy business; five-year post-acquisition strategy for a regulated Alberta utility; coal operations out-sourcing delivery strategy; retail electricity strategy for a deregulated market structure, and a five-year business strategy for a $500 million renewables business.

Organizational Transformation and Mergers and Acquisitions

  • Restructured TransAlta’s functional organization into three business units, reducing corporate cost structure by $30M. Hands-on experience leading four major buisness transitions. Successfully completed the post-acquisition integration of Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc. wind and hydro fleets (600 MW) into TransAlta’s renewables business. Led transformation of under-performing utility at acquistion to flagship performer over five years at FortisAlberta. Closed $850 million sale of transmission business and $700 million sale of distribution/retail business, and successfully managed transitions to new owners. 

Operations and Capital Project Execution

  • Broad operational leadership experience in natural gas, wind, hydro, and solar electricity generation, coal mining, electric transmission and distribution, and regulated utility customer operations and contact center. Capital project execution experience for maintenance and operations and major new construction. 


  • Negotiated three consecutive rate regulatory agreements with diverse customer and intervenor groups on behalf of FortisAlberta. 

Industry Experience: 

  • Utilities
  • Electric Utilities
  • Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders

International Experience: 

  • United States

Board Experience:

Corporate Boards:

TransAlta Cogeneration LP 2015 to Present
TransAlta Renewables Inc. 2013 to 2017
TAMA Transmission LP 2013 to 2014

Additional Boards:

Lethbridge College 2011 to 2014
Vice Chair, Board of Governors
Chair, Finance, Audit and Risk Committee
Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Calgary and Area
Vice President


TransAlta Corporation 2009 to 2017
Executive Vice President, Gas, Renewables & Operations Services
Executive Vice President, Enterprise Risk and Corporate Services
President, TAMA Transmission
Executive Vice President, Corporate Services
Vice President, Renewable Operations
FortisAlberta 2004 to 2009
Vice President, Regulatory and Legal
Vice President, Customer Service and Regulatory
Vice President, Corporate Services and Regulatory
TransAlta Corporation 1989 to 2003
Vice President, Fuel Supply and Hydro Operations
Vice President, Transmission
Director, Business Development
Director, Business Transition
Director, Retail Sales and Marketing
Various roles with increasing responsibility


MA (Applied Economics.), University of Victoria, 1986
BA (Economics), University of Calgary, 1984