SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Jan. 8, 2003 — NorthWestern Corp. announced Wednesday that Gary G. Drook, chairman of the company’s governance committee of the board of directors, has been elected interim chief executive officer. Merle D. Lewis is retiring as chairman of the board and chief executive officer.
For the past six years, Drook has served as president and chief executive officer, and remains a director, of AFFINA, Inc., a Peoria, Ill., provider of customer relationship management programs. Prior to joining AFFINA, Drook was president of Network Services, Enhanced Business Services and Yellow Pages for Ameritech Corporation where he was responsible for more than 38,500 employees. He has served as an independent member of NorthWestern’s board of directors since 1998.
“On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Merle for his dedication to NorthWestern as the company has grown and developed under his leadership,” said Drook. “I am honored to be named interim chief executive officer and look forward to working with NorthWestern’s 8,000 team members as we move the company forward.”
Lewis served as NorthWestern’s chief executive officer since February 1994 and chairman of the board since May 1998. He joined the company in 1976 and was elected to the board of directors in 1993.
“It has been an honor to work for more than 26 years at NorthWestern, and I remain committed to the company,” said Lewis. “I am retiring from NorthWestern with pride, knowing that we’ve assembled a superb team of hard working, energetic people that are dedicated to the future success of the company.”
NorthWestern also announced that Marilyn R. Seymann has been elected interim non-executive chairman of the board of directors and chairman of the board’s governance committee. Seymann is president and chief executive officer of M ONE, Inc., a financial services consulting firm in Phoenix, Ariz. Seymann has served on NorthWestern’s board of directors since 2000.
NorthWestern Corporation is a provider of services and solutions to more than 2 million customers across America in the energy and communications sectors. NorthWestern’s partner businesses include NorthWestern Energy, a provider of electricity, natural gas and related services to customers in Montana, Nebraska and South Dakota; Expanets, the largest mid-market provider of networked communications solutions and services in the United States; and Blue Dot, a leading provider of air conditioning, heating, plumbing and related services.