One of Australia’s big three energy utilities, EnergyAustralia, says it appointed chief customer officer Mark Collette as its new managing director, effective July 1, following the decision by Catherine Tanna to retire after seven years at the helm.
It is third departure of a CEO from a major coal generator in little more than a week, following the surprising exit of Brett Redman from AGL in the middle of its demerger plans, and the sudden exit of Ricard van Breda from Stanwell Corp in Queensland after he talked of a possible early closure of some of its coal units.
EnergyAustralia has already flagged the early closure of its Yallourn brown coal generator in Victoria to 2028, and it also owns the Mt Piper coal generator in NSW, which is due to keep generating for another 15 years at least if it can secure a reliable supply of coal.
Company chairman Graham Bradley said succession planning had began two years ago. “We’re thrilled that an internal candidate has been appointed following a comprehensive domestic and international recruitment process,” he said.
Collette joined EnergyAustralia in 2003 and has led the customer, energy, trading and corporate strategy and development teams. He is a director of the board of the Australian Energy Council, a former director of the Australian Financial Markets Association, member of the Reliability Panel and holds degrees in Aerospace Engineering, Business Administration and Economics.
His initial comments focused on the new big battery that the company intends to build to at least partially replace the Yallourn coal plant.
“I thank the Board for this opportunity and am committed to carry on the work to build a thriving business capable of delivering momentous projects, such as Australia’s first four- hour, 350 MW utility-scale battery by 2026,” Collette said in a brief statement.
“Our people are our greatest strength and together we will continue to supply energy safely, and reliably, to our 2.4 million customers.”