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Liddell operator AGL appoints its chief financial officer to replace Andy Vesey

MAJOR company AGL has surprised the market by announcing the immediate departure of its American managing director and chief executive, Andy Vesey, to be replaced in the interim by the company’s chief financial officer, Brett Redman.

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Mr Vesey had been a vocal advocate of the need to transition from coal to renewable power and had stood up to the federal government over energy policy in the wake of his company’s decision to announce the closure of the ageing Liddell power station near Muswellbrook by2023.

RELATED READING: Why Liddell is such a lightning rod for power controversy

AGL also owns the nearby and newer Bayswater power station in a suite of power industry assets.

In a statement on Friday morning, AGL chairman said it was a time of considerable uncertainty in the power sector.

There had been speculation Mr Vesey would quit earlier this month after the company released its annual results, but the company had denied any changes at the top.

Today, Mr Hunt said:“Succession planning for the managing director and CEO is a matter of key importance to the AGL board at all times.

“Over recent months, we have increased our focus on the development of internal candidates and on maintaining an active view of potential external candidates.

“As a result, a domestic and international search process including strong internal candidates is well progressed, and the board has decided to take that process to the next step.That search will now enter a final phase to enable us to complete an appointment.”

AGL said Mr Vesey would step down from the board immediately but stay on as an advisor until the end of the year.

It was unclear why Mr Vesey was standing down before the search for a successor had been completed.

In his time with AGL, Mr Vesey was a high-profile CEO largely because the energy policy that AGL was running tended to clash with that of the federal government.

The government wanted Liddell kept running because of fears the east coast would run short of energy without it but Mr Vesey was adamant AGL’s post-Liddell plan –a mixture of renewables, demand management and an upgrade to Bayswater –would fill any shortfall.

Not all were not so convinced, with Tomago Aluminium’s Matt Howell a vocal critic, saying he feared for the future of n heavy industry without reliable baseload electricity, which he argued could only come –with the technology at hand –from fossil fuels.

AGL also refused to consider an unsolicited $250 million offerto buy Liddell from rival power company Alinta.

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