Technology Hydro One board resigns, CEO retires

06:05  12 july  2018
06:05  12 july  2018 Source:

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The entire board of Hydro One Ltd. says it is resigning and chief executive officer Mayo Schmidt has announced he is retiring , succumbing to pressure from The Progressive Conservative leader called CEO a “-million man” and blamed Hydro One , which owns much of the province’s electrical

Wednesday’s statement said all of the current board members will resign and be replaced and that the transition should be finished by August 15. #BREAKING | Hydro One CEO Mayo Schmidt will be retiring and the board members would leave on a staggered basis, according to company’s press

Premier Doug Ford says he has made good on a key campaign promise, announcing the immediate retirement of the CEO of Hydro One and the resignation of the utility's entire board of directors.

Ford, who promised that if he was elected he would fire Hydro One CEO Mayo Schmidt, dubbing him the "Six-Million-Dollar Man" during the spring election campaign, hailed it as a "great day" for the province.

Under an agreement between the new Tory government and the partially privatized power utility, Schmidt will retire and its board of directors will resign and be replaced.

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Doug Ford has unleashed another attack on Hydro One , calling on its board to resign over revelations directors voted “secretly” to make it easier for CEO Mayo Schmidt to get .7 million in severance if he’s fired without cause.

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"I said over and over and over again on the campaign trail the CEO of Hydro One and the board will be gone," Ford told a hastily called press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

"I'm happy to say today the CEO and the board of Hydro One, they're gone. They're done. They're done. We're going to turn a new corner."

Schmidt, who earned a $6.2-million salary last year, became a lightning rod for resentment during the election over rising electricity rates in the province. He would have been entitled to at least $10.7 million in severance if he were to be removed from his job by the board of directors, according to the company’s annual shareholders report released on March 29.

According to a statement from Hydro One, Schmidt will not be entitled to severance, and will instead receive a $400,000 lump sum payment in lieu of all post-retirement benefits.

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"If the CEO and board at Hydro One have any respect for their customers, any respect for Ontario, any respect for the people, they should resign . They should resign immediately today," Ford told reporters.

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As part of the deal, Hydro One also said it has agreed to consult with the province on "future matters of executive compensation."

NDP Energy critic Peter Tabuns said Schmidt's departure raises a number of questions and demanded the government release the specifics details of the deal reached with the now former CEO.

"Doug Ford needs to tell people what kind of backroom deal he worked out with Mayo Schmidt to get him to walk away, and if he's going to replace the board with his own high-priced insiders," Tabuns said in a statement.

Hydro One said Wednesday a new board of directors will be selected by Aug. 15 and will initially consist of 10 members.

Under the agreement, the province will nominate four replacement directors and the remaining six nominees will be identified through a committee comprised of representatives of Hydro One's largest shareholders other than the province.

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All the non-government members of Manitoba Hydro 's board resigned Wednesday after Premier Brian Pallister indicated his government would assume greater oversight over the debt-burdened Crown corporation and had vetoed its planned -million payment to the province's Métis Federation.

WINNIPEG — The board of directors at Manitoba Hydro resigned en masse Wednesday, leading to counter-accusations from Premier Brian Pallister and the spectre of a lawsuit from the Manitoba Metis Federation.

Hydro One's outgoing board chair, David Denison, said the agreement will provide "stability and clarity" to the utility's management moving forward, and he lauded Schmidt for his leadership.

Schmidt "has exhibited strong and effective leadership throughout his tenure as CEO in guiding the transformation of Hydro One to a publicly traded company," he said.

Paul Dobson, Hydro One's chief financial officer, has been appointed the utility's acting CEO until the new board can hire a permanent replacement.

While Ford promised that the departure of the leadership at Hydro One would bring down electricity rates, he struggled to explain how when asked repeatedly by reporters.

"Having a new board, a new CEO, blazing a new trail in Hydro One, setting a new mentality right across the board to the frontline workers of Hydro One," he said. "As sure as I'm standing here, those bills are going to come down 12 per cent. We're going to give relief to the people of Ontario."

Energy Minister Greg Rickford said in a statement Wednesday that in addition to the change of leadership, the government will introduce legislation to ensure the company acts in the public interest.

As the share price falls, retiring Hydro One CEO to get millions

  As the share price falls, retiring Hydro One CEO to get millions As the share price falls, retiring Hydro One CEO to get millionsThanks to his stock options, the ousted head of Hydro One will walk away with close to the $10.7 million he would have received in severance — far more than a $400,000 retirement payout Premier Doug Ford touted as a victory for ratepayers.

Hydro One CEO Mayo Schmidt says recent threats made in the Ontario election campaign add uncertainty to its U.S. acquisition. Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford has threatened to fire Mr. Schmidt and replace the board of directors because of executive pay levels.

Every member of the Manitoba Hydro board , except for Progressive Conservative MLA Cliff Graydon, resigned on Wednesday. Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Loren Remillard had this reaction to the news. 0:45.

"Our government has prepared legislation that, if passed, will improve transparency and accountability at Hydro One," he said, providing no further details about the proposed bill. "We will introduce this legislation during the upcoming sitting."

Hydro One was partially privatized in November 2015, with the Liberal government saying it planned to use the sale of shares to fund transit and infrastructure projects. By December 2017, the province had sold off 53 per cent of its stake in the company.

The decision has come under a lot of criticism, including from the province’s fiscal watchdog, who said earlier this year that taxpayers would have saved $1.8 billion if the government had taken on traditional debt to fund infrastructure projects instead of partially privatizing Hydro One, which has over $25 billion in assets and annual revenues of nearly $6 billion.

During the election, Hydro One, which is Ontario’s largest electricity transmission and distribution provider, had stressed that ratepayers did not pay the majority of Schmidt's salary.

“We have heard the feedback from our customers and the regulator about executive compensation,” the company said in a statement in April. “That’s why we decided earlier this year that customers will only pay for the CEO’s salary as it was at the time of the (initial public offering).”

Hydro One customers pay only two cents on their monthly bill for the CEO’s compensation, the company said, adding that nearly 80 per cent of the total executive compensation package is paid for by shareholders.

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Ontario's new Progressive Conservative government introduced legislation on Monday that would give it sweeping new powers over executive compensation at Hydro One. The bill, dubbed the Urgent Priorities Act, was introduced by Energy Minister Greg Rickford and would give the government authority to approve executive compensation at the utility. It would require the Hydro One board of directors to establish a new compensation framework for the CEO and board of directors in consultation with the province and the partially privatized utility's five largest shareholders.


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