Hy­dro One re­places board after mass res­ig­na­tion

PressReader - Tke Channel - Hy­dro One re­places board after mass res­ig­na­tion
A new board of di­rec­tors is in place at Hy­dro One just over a month after the par­tially-pri­va­tized util­ity ’s chief ex­ec­u­tive and en­tire board re­signed amid pres­sure from On­tario’s Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive govern­ment.Ten new di­rec­tors were named Tues­day as re­place­ments for the com­pany’s pre­vi­ous 14-mem­ber board. For­mer CIBC ex­ec­u­tive Tom Woods will serve as the in­terim board chair un­til the po­si­tion can be filled per­ma­nently.“This highly-qual­i­fied board has strong gov­er­nance and in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence and brings with them sig­nif­i­cant elec­tric­ity, busi­ness and cap­i­tal-mar­kets ex­per­tise,” act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Dob­son said in a state­ment. “Their over­sight will help us to build on the pos­i­tive mo­men­tum the com­pany has achieved since be­ing pri­va­tized in 2015.”Dur­ing a con­fer­ence call with share­hold­ers, Dob­son stressed the board will re­main “fully in­de­pen­dent” from the govern­ment and will be­gin work with the man­age­ment team to find a new CEO. The board will also be­gin to ex­am­ine ex­ec­u­tive com­pen­sa­tion, he said.For­mer CEO Mayo Sch­midt re­tired, and the util­ity’s board re­signed abruptly in July after reach­ing an agree­ment with the new Tory govern­ment.Sch­midt had be­come a light­en­ing rod for re­sent­ment dur­ing the spring elec­tion cam­paign over ris­ing elec­tric­ity rates. Pre­mier Doug Ford had la­belled the CEO “the six-mil­lion-dol­lar man” and promised to fire the ex­ec­u­tive if elected.After reach­ing the agree­ment that saw Sch­midt leave the util­ity, Ford de­clared that he’d made good on his pledge.“The CEO of hy­dro is gone,” Ford said at the time. “The board is gone. We’re turn­ing the page when it comes to hy­dro rates.”Un­der the deal reached with the Tories, Sch­midt was not en­ti­tled to the $10.7-mil­lion sev­er­ance he would have been en­ti­tled to if he’d been re­moved by the board, and in­stead re­ceived a $400,000 lump sum pay­ment in lieu of all postre­tire­ment ben­e­fits. The Op­po­si­tion noted, how­ever, that Sch­midt qual­i­fied for in­cen­tives and stock op­tions worth at least $9 mil­lion upon re­tire­ment.Ford spokesman Si­mon Jef­feries said Tues­day that the new board at the util­ity marked progress in the govern­ment’s plan on the hy­dro file.“Re­newed lead­er­ship at Hy­dro One is an im­por­tant first-step to­wards mak­ing hy­dro rates more af­ford­able for fam­i­lies and jobcre­ators,” he said in a state­ment.Ford has promised to slash hy­dro rates by a fur­ther 12 per cent but has yet to move on pol­icy to im­ple­ment the re­duc­tion.The Tories have, how­ever, passed om­nibus leg­is­la­tion that in part grants the govern­ment author­ity to ap­prove ex­ec­u­tive com­pen­sa­tion at Hy­dro One.The bill re­quires the Hy­dro One board of di­rec­tors to es­tab­lish a new com­pen­sa­tion frame­work for the CEO and board in con­sul­ta­tion with the prov­ince and the par­tially-pri­va­tized util­ity’s five largest share­hold­ers.Hy­dro One was par­tially pri­va­tized in Novem­ber 2015, and by De­cem­ber 2017 the prov­ince had sold off 53 per cent of its stake.In ad­di­tion to Woods, the Prov­ince of On­tario, Hy­dro One’s largest share­holder, named lawyer Cherie Brant, for­mer OMERS ex­ec­u­tive Blair Cow­per-Smith and for­mer BMO ex­ec­u­tive Rus­sel Robert­son to the board.The six di­rec­tors nom­i­nated by Hy­dro One’s ad hoc nom­i­nat­ing com­mit­tee are for­mer Wey­er­haeuser ex­ec­u­tive Anne Giar­dini, for­mer New Brunswick Power chief ex­ec­u­tive David Hay, Align­vest Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment man­ag­ing part­ner Ti­mothy Hodg­son, Canada Post in­terim chief ex­ec­u­tive Jes­sica McDon­ald, for­mer Sappi Fine Pa­pers chief ex­ec­u­tive Wil­liam Sh­effield and Melissa Son­berg, ex­ec­u­tive-in-res­i­dence at McGill Univer­sity’s De­sautel Fac­ulty of Man­age­ment.The util­ity’s new board was named Tues­day as the com­pany re­ported a sec­ond-quar­ter profit of $200 mil­lion or 33 cents per di­luted share, up from a profit of $117 mil­lion or 20 cents per di­luted share in the same quar­ter a year ear­lier.Rev­enue for the three months ended June 30 to­talled $1.48 bil­lion, up from $1.37 bil­lion in the same quar­ter last year.On an ad­justed ba­sis, Hy­dro One said it earned 32 cents per di­luted share, up from an ad­justed profit of 20 cents per di­luted share a year ago.The CEO of hy­dro is gone. The board is gone. We’re turn­ing the page when it comes to hy­dro rates.

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