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Westinghouse announces COO's departure, new business units amid reshuffling

Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC COO Mark Marano is retiring as part of a "first phase" of organizational changes aimed at focusing the U.S. nuclear energy technology supplier on its customer base and strengthening its worldwide services and supply chain management capabilities.

Westinghouse, which supplies technology to half of the world's operating nuclear power plants, announced Jan. 8 that it has begun to reorganize and implement operational changes, including creating customer-focused business units to serve existing nuclear facilities at every stage of a plant's life. The company is also restructuring the role of COO, and in conjunction with those changes, Marano decided to step down as COO, a position he was appointed to in March 2017.

The announcement comes nearly two years after Westinghouse, then a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Toshiba Corp., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2017 over debt obligations and $6.3 billion in cost overruns for expansion projects at the Alvin W. Vogtle and V.C. Summer nuclear power plants in the Southeast U.S. While the two new Summer units were scrapped in 2017, work continues on Vogtle's two new units — the only reactors under development in the U.S. — albeit five years behind schedule and at a reported cost of $27 billion, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Westinghouse emerged from Chapter 11 in August 2018 after Toshiba sold Westinghouse for $4.6 billion to Brookfield Business Partners LP, a subsidiary of Canadian investment firm Brookfield Asset Management Inc.

"Westinghouse has been on a journey to transform the way in which we deliver our products and services to our customers in the most effective manner that will build value for the business," Westinghouse President and CEO José Emeterio Gutiérrez said in a news release. "The changes will be a catalyst as we continue to focus on strengthening the company's core business and our global supply chain, and continuously work toward a standard of excellence in quality, safety, client service, and innovation."

Westinghouse said the restructuring changes specifically seek to boost sales by aligning accountability for product and service delivery by region and ensuring the most effective use of global sourcing of its products. Among the key changes to Westinghouse's operating model is creating customer-focused business units that will serve the world's existing nuclear operating fleet with "single points of accountability" for sales and delivery.

David Howell, who succeeded Marano as president of Westinghouse's American region, has been appointed by Westinghouse to serve as president of the operating plant services for the Americas. Westinghouse also named the current vice president of Westinghouse's China projects, Bill Poirier, interim president of the same unit for Europe, Middle East and Africa while the company conducts an external search to fill the role.

Westinghouse is also developing a new business unit focused on key growth areas related to the specific stages of plant life-cycle solutions, such as new plant delivery; plant deconstruction, decommissioning and remediation services; and government services. David Durham, Westinghouse's current senior vice president of new projects business, will head this new unit as its president.

In addition, Westinghouse is establishing an operations delivery support unit with hubs around the world to help business units deliver products and services while reducing costs and providing engineering, manufacturing and other technical services to Westinghouse's customers. Westinghouse hired former senior Eaton Corp. executive Pavan Pattada to lead the enhanced global supply chain management unit as its executive vice president.

The company said all phases of the restructuring will be completed by the start of the third quarter of 2019.