Unitil Corp. announced Thursday that Chairman, President and CEO Robert Schoenberger will end his two-decade tenure leading the New England utility by retiring in April.
Schoenberger will step down effective April 25 and will not stand for re-election to the board at the shareholders on that date. Senior vice president and Chief Operating offcer Thomas Meissner will succeed Schoenberger in the top leadership roles.
Schoenberger’s decision to retire will bring to a close a career spanning 38 years in the utility industry, including over 20 years of continuous service with Unitil. He has been chairman of the board and CEO since October 1997.
Prior to his employment with Unitil, Schoenberger was President and Chief Operating Officer of the New York Power Authority from 1993 until 1997.
Under his leadership, Unitil has grown from a business of 107,000 customers operating in two states with an investment in Net Utility Plant of $151 million in 1997 to one with more than 186,000 electric and natural gas customers operating in three states with an investment in Net Utility Plant of $972 million currently.
“Mr. Schoenberger has been an extraordinary leader for more than two decades as the chairman of the board and chief executive officer,” Albert Elfner III, lead director of the Unitil board, said in a statement. “He has delivered outstanding results in every category–customer, financial, operations, regulatory, safety, and community. We thank him for his leadership and dedication to the company, and wish him health, happiness and prosperity in his well-deserved retirement.”
Meissner has served as the company’s senior vice president and COO since 2005. Throughout his 24 year career with the Company, he has had extensive senior leadership responsibility for electric and gas engineering, operations, regulatory compliance and strategic planning.
Meissner earned his Bachelor of Science from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1985 with degrees in Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, and his MBA from the University of New Hampshire Whittemore School of Business and Economics in Durham, New Hampshire, in 2004. Meissner is a registered professional engineer in the state of New Hampshire, and is also a director of the Northeast Gas Association.
“I’ve known and worked with Tom for over 20 years and he has been pivotal to the company’s strategic and operational successes,” said Schoenberger in a statement. “I have every confidence in his ability to successfully lead Unitil into the future. His extensive experience in our industry, passion for our customers, leadership skills, and focus on results make him the ideal person to lead the company going forward.”
Unitil Corp. is a public utility holding company with operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Together, Unitil’s operating utilities serve approximately 105,000 electric customers and 81,300 natural gas customers. Other subsidiaries include Usource, Unitil’s non-regulated business segment.