Ball taps Mar­shall to fix Nal­cor

New en­ergy boss has Con­cep­tion Bay North roots

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY JAMES MCLEOD TC ME­DIA The Tele­gram

Stan Mar­shall said last Thurs­day that he never liked the Muskrat Falls project, and he didn’t want the job of lead­ing Nal­cor En­ergy, but he did it out of a sense of duty.

Af­ter a tu­mul­tuous 24 hours for the govern­ment-owned Crown cor­po­ra­tion, Premier Dwight Ball an­nounced Thurs­day Mar­shall, the long­time pres­i­dent and CEO of For­tis Inc., is now tak­ing over as CEO of Nal­cor En­ergy.

“This is not a job I wanted; this is a job I had to do,” Mar­shall said.

Mar­shall — who grew up in Fresh­wa­ter and at­tended high school in Car­bon­ear — takes over Nal­cor at a time when it’s mired in con­tro­versy, mostly sur­round­ing the be­lea­guered Muskrat Falls project, which is be­hind sched­ule and bil­lions of dol­lars over bud­get.

He said he’s never been a fan of the hy­dro­elec­tric project, which would see a dam in Labrador sup­ply power to New­found­land and Nova Sco­tia.

“I am deeply trou­bled by the cur­rent sta­tus, and I’m clearly not alone in that re­gard. The peo­ple of the prov­ince must be con­fi­dent that Nal­cor is do­ing the right things,” he said.

“Clearly the project is be­hind sched­ule and over bud­get. When th­ese things get off track, it’s a very poor sign. They tend to go from bad to worse.”

Mar­shall said that even at its con­cep­tion, when it was sup­posed to be a $5 bil­lion project, he though the whole thing was the wrong choice. Now, due to cost over­runs, the project is ex­pected to cost more like $10 bil­lion.

It was a tur­bu­lent week for Nal­cor En­ergy. Ed Martin, who served as pres­i­dent and CEO for more than a decade, abruptly an­nounced last Wed­nes­day that he was quit­ting to spend more time with his fam­ily.

Both Martin and Ball in­sisted the sud­den de­par­ture had noth­ing to do with a highly crit­i­cal sec­tion of last weeks’ bud­get speech, where Fi­nance Min­is­ter Cathy Ben­nett said spend­ing at the crown agency is out of con­trol.

De­spite the protes­ta­tions from Ball and Martin that there was no ill-will on ei­ther side, a few hours af­ter Martin quit, news leaked out that the en­tire Nal­cor board of di­rec­tors abruptly quit, too.

Ball said he sat down and had a con­ver­sa­tion with Mar­shall Mon­day, and no­body else was pur­sued for the job.

Dur­ing last year’s elec­tion cam­paign, Ball made po­lit­i­cal hay of the idea to “take the pol­i­tics out of govern­ment ap­point­ments” by set­ting up an In­de­pen­dent Ap­point­ments Com­mis­sion, but af­ter five months in of­fice, the Lib­er­als haven’t done that yet.

Ball said in the ab­sence of the ap­point­ments com­mis­sion, Mar­shall’s re­sume should be enough to beat back at any per­cep­tion of pa­tron­age.

“I think his ré­sumé speaks for it­self,” Ball said. “The suc­cess that he’s had speaks for it­self. No one would ques­tion his lead­er­ship.”

Mar­shall was pres­i­dent and CEO of For­tis Inc. for 18 years, and worked at the com­pany for 35 years.

He grew the com­pany from as­sets of less than $1 bil­lion in 1996 to more than $18 bil­lion in 2014 when he an­nounced his re­tire­ment. Mar­shall said that he still owns shares with For­tis Inc., a com­pany that has busi­ness deal­ings with Nal­cor En­ergy though its sub­sidiary, New­found­land Power.

But Mar­shall said he doesn’t be­lieve there’s a con­flict of in­ter­est.

“I think that Nal­cor has a lot of se­ri­ous prob­lems. New­found­land Power is not one of them,” he said. “When I was pres­i­dent and CEO I steered that com­pany loy­ally; I in­tend to do the same for Nal­cor and for the peo­ple of this prov­ince.”

Op­po­si­tion politi­cians could find no fault in Mar­shall as the new leader of Nal­cor, although both the NDP and Tories said that the hir­ing process leaves some­thing to be de­sired, af­ter all the Lib­eral rhetoric about in­de­pen­dence and non-par­ti­san­ship.

Tory MHA Keith Hutch­ings also said he’s con­cerned about the fu­ture of Nal­cor. Un­der the Tories, Nal­cor was sup­posed to be­come a mas­sive, prof­itable en­ergy com­pany, like Sta­toil is for Nor­way.

“It’s a broad-based in­vest­ment - the equity in­vest­ment, cer­tainly, in the oil fields - that will pro­vide rev­enues for the prov­ince for gen­er­a­tions to come,” Hutch­ings said.

“This is the legacy fund for decades to come.”


Ed Martin an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion last Wed­nes­day as CEO of Nal­cor En­ergy. Martin held the po­si­tion since 2005.

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