NextEra Energy Inc. said Moray P. Dewhurst, vice chairman and chief financial officer, has shared with the board of directors his intention to retire in the spring of 2016 as part of a planned leadership succession process.
“Moray has been a key part of the senior leadership of NextEra Energy for well over a decade, helping us guide the company through a period of exceptional growth and success,” said Jim Robo, chairman and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy. “For much of that time he has also been the principal spokesman for the company with the investment community and has achieved well-earned recognition as one of the best CFOs in the industry. He has been a great friend, colleague and valued counselor to me personally, and I know I speak for all NextEra employees when I say we will miss him. At the same time, I understand and respect his desire to move on to the next chapter in his life.”
Commenting on his planned retirement, Dewhurst noted, “It has been a privilege to have served this great company in a senior leadership role for so long, and I am grateful to the board and to Jim Robo and Lew Hay, two outstanding CEOs, for giving me this opportunity. While I have been thinking about next steps for some time, I would not be making this decision were I not convinced we have a solid transition plan in place and a great candidate to succeed me. I look forward to working closely with John Ketchum over the course of the next year to ensure that the finance leadership transition is seamless both internally and externally.”
The company also announced two senior leadership promotions:
John Ketchum, currently senior vice president, business management and finance for NextEra Energy unit, NextEra Energy Resources LLC, has been named senior vice president, finance, NextEra Energy, with responsibility for accounting, forecasting, tax and investor relations. Ketchum, who is expected to succeed Dewhurst as chief financial officer as part of a planned year-long transition, will report to Dewhurst during the transition period.
Mark Hickson, currently vice president, operational excellence, strategic initiatives and corporate development, has been named senior vice president, corporate development and strategic initiatives and will continue to be responsible for corporate strategy, merger- and acquisition-related activity, business development, and quality and process improvement initiatives. Hickson, who also has been appointed to the board of directors of the general partner of NextEra Energy Partners LP, will continue to report to Robo.
“I am very pleased to be able to announce these two promotions,” said Robo. “During his tenure, Mark has dramatically improved our corporate development capability and has been a critical part of several important initiatives, including the very successful launch of NextEra Energy Partners — the most successful launch of a master limited partnership or YieldCo in history as measured by day one yield. I view the corporate development function as central to our goal of finding new ways to build on our core skills in the power and gas space, and I expect Mark and his team to continue to be very active in the years ahead.
“John has established himself as one of our strongest executives, with a well-rounded experience base,” said Robo. “His deep finance and tax expertise, strong commercial sense, extensive legal background and unparalleled knowledge of all aspects of the Energy Resources portfolio will serve him well as he transitions to the senior leadership role of NextEra Energy’s finance functions. I look forward to John and Moray working closely together in the coming months to execute our succession plan.”
Hickson joined the company in 2012 and most recently has been responsible for corporate development activities, including leading the company’s successful launch of NextEra Energy Partners and playing a critical role in the recently announced proposed merger with Hawaiian Electric Industries.
Prior to joining NextEra Energy, Hickson was with Merrill Lynch & Co., where he served as managing director of global mergers and acquisitions. While there, he advised clients in the infrastructure industry with broad industry experience, including energy and power, water utilities and toll roads in various regions, including North America, Europe and Asia.
His overall transaction experience included mergers, acquisitions, cross border transactions, divestitures, fairness opinions, debt and private equity financing, sale of a company, as well as management and regulatory issues. Prior to becoming an investment banker, Hickson worked for The Boeing Co. as a senior aerodynamics engineer, where he was involved in the design, development and testing of a variety of aircraft.
Ketchum joined NextEra Energy in 2002 and most recently has been responsible for leading the finance, accounting and tax organizations of NextEra Energy Resources, as well as profit and loss for NextEra Energy Resources’ generating assets, and overseeing state regulatory and legislative affairs for NextEra Energy Resources.
He has a diverse finance, legal, business and commercial transactions background with experience in domestic and international project development, project finance, mergers and acquisitions, dispute resolution, tax, corporate governance, corporate finance, securities, bankruptcy, operations, risk management, finance and accounting.
Other positions Ketchum has held with NextEra Energy Resources include vice president, business management for the Midwest and Canada, and general counsel and corporate secretary. Prior to joining the company, Ketchum served as corporate counsel to TECO Energy and as a corporate and securities law associate for Holland & Knight, LLP in Tampa, Fla. He began his career as a tax lawyer for Lathrop & Gage in Kansas City, Mo., and, prior to that, worked in corporate banking.