By LEDEDRA MARCHE
FN Senior Reporter
The Grand Bahama Power Company’s announcement yesterday of CEO Alan Kelley’s resignation was unexpected, according to Commonwealth Electrical Workers Union (CEWU) president, and now they intend to forge ahead with the new management team.
Kelley’s resignation was effective March 16, 2010, and, according to the company release, he intends to pursue other opportunities in the United States.
Kelley joined the Grand Bahama Power Company in (GBPC) December of 2009 and led the company under the direction of former majority owner Marubeni/Taqa.
Emera executive Ray Robinson will continue to lead the organization in his role as executive chairman of the GBPC and will begin the process to recruit a new CEO immediately, the release stated.
The engineer has been working on Emera’s Caribbean business for some time and joined the Grand Bahama team back in February.
Robinson was to concentrate his efforts on the building of the new diesel plant and a comprehensive technology-training plan for Bahamians, among other responsibilities.
“We thank Mr. Kelley for the contributions he has made to the business over the last 15 months,” Robinson said in the release. “I look forward to working more closely with the GBPC team to revitalize the utility for the benefit of the citizens of Grand Bahama and The Bahamas.”
Emera Inc. is a Canadian energy and services company which operates throughout northeastern North America, in three Caribbean countries and in California.
In late September 2008, the company initially purchased 25 percent of the shares in the GBPC for $41 million before becoming the majority owner with an additional 55.4 percent for $82 million.
That acquisition brought Emera’s interest in the GBPC to 80.4 percent.
The employees reportedly learned of Kelley’s resignation via a mass e-mail sent out to them.
CEWU president Leslie Lightbourne told The Free-port News yesterday the union is anxious to continue its relationship with the company and even more eager in getting to know Robinson and its new owners.
In fact, he revealed that the new management team plans to meet with the 200-plus employees today.
“We are very pleased to find out that they are meeting with us, the employees, tomorrow. We will hear their concerns and address our concerns and we are happy to start anew.
“We’re going to work 100 percent with the new CEO and we’re going to show Emera that they made a wise choice in buying this company,” he said.
Chief Operating Officer Robert Powers has also left the company and intends to return to the US, The Freeport News has learned.
Powers was reportedly at the power plant for just under a year and his responsibility involved overseeing operations and the steam plant.
“The morale has gone from ground zero to 100 percent,” Lightbourne said, adding that he intends to request a meeting with Robinson at the earliest opportunity.
Just last month, the union finally signed a new agreement with management after a contentious year and now Lightbourne, said, the relationship can only improve as negotiation for a new contract must begin soon.
“It can only get better. We have a contract and both sides will abide by the contract. We will have to start negotiating for a new contract by late next year because this one is only a three-year contract and a year is already gone,” he said.
“We’ve got to start about nine months before the expiration of the present contract because it is already midway.”