S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a weekly rundown of recent executive management, board and regulatory changes in the energy industry. The moves are listed by sector in reverse chronological order.
* ITC Holdings Corp. appointed five directors to the new board it formed upon the closing of its acquisition by Fortis Inc. and GIC Private Ltd. The appointments are effective Jan. 1, 2017. The new directors include ITC President and CEO Linda Blair; Albert Ernst, former director of Energy Industry Group; and Sandra Pierce, senior executive vice president, private client group and regional banking director and chairman of Michigan, Huntington National Bank. Also added to the board are Kevin Prust, former CFO and executive vice president of Weitz Co. LLC, and Thomas Stephens, former vice chairman and global chief technology officer of General Motors Co.
* The Nebraska Public Power District appointed Ken Higginbotham as vice president nuclear and chief nuclear officer at Cooper Nuclear Station, effective Jan. 1, 2017. Higginbotham will replace Oscar Limpias, who is leaving the company to join Entergy Corp. as vice president of nuclear oversight.
* Exxon Mobil Corp. has a replacement set for CEO Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of state designate, naming company president Darren Woods to take the reins Jan. 1, 2017. Tillerson, who had been scheduled to retire in March 2017 when he turns 65, expedited his departure after being chosen by Trump earlier in the week. In a statement, Exxon's board of directors praised Tillerson for his 41 years with the company, including 10 as CEO.
* National Fuel Gas Co. appointed Thomas Skains as an independent member of its board of directors, effective Dec. 8. Skains was chairman, president and CEO of Piedmont Natural Gas Co. Inc. He retired in October, following the closing of the merger with Duke Energy Corp. He was also elected as a director at Duke Energy after the merger.
* Steven Schlotterbeck will join the board of EQT Corp., effective Jan. 1, 2017. In October, the executive was named as the next CEO, effective March 1, 2017. Schlotterbeck will serve on the executive committee and the public policy and corporate responsibility committee of the board. David Porges, whom Schlotterbeck will succeed as CEO, will continue to serve as executive chairman until Feb. 28, 2018.
* After a year that included a failed merger attempt with Energy Transfer Equity LP and a withdrawn acquisition bid from Enterprise Products Partners LP, Williams Cos. Inc. appointed an M&A lawyer and Enterprise's former chief to its board. Charles "Casey" Cogut, senior counsel at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP who specializes in M&A, and Michael Creel, former CEO and director of the general partner of Enterprise, are on the board effective immediately and will stand for election at Williams' annual shareholder meeting in May 2017. The appointments conclude what Williams called a "board refreshment" that started after six directors led by activist investor Keith Meister stepped down in the wake of Williams' failed merger with Energy Transfer Equity. The Williams board has 11 directors, seven of whom have been appointed in 2016.
* President-elect Donald Trump offered the interior secretary position to coal industry proponent U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana. Zinke has been a fierce critic of the Interior Department's January decision to suspend new leases for coal production on federal lands while the department reviewed its coal leasing program. He has also defended proposed West Coast coal export terminals despite opposition from environmental groups and backed tax credits for coal production on tribal lands in Montana.
* Goldman Sachs Group Inc. President and COO Gary Cohn will be appointed to direct the National Economic Council, President-elect Donald Trump's transition team confirmed Dec. 12. The announcement came after several days of reports that Cohn was a leading contender for the post. In a statement, Trump said Cohn would be his "top economic adviser" and that he would "help craft economic policies that will grow wages for our workers, stop the exodus of jobs overseas and create many great new opportunities for Americans who have been struggling." The appointment does not require Senate confirmation.