Ed McManus has resigned as CEO of Meridian Energy and Powershop Australia, the company announced in a surprise statement issued to the ASX on Thursday.
Neal Barclay, the Chief Executive of the New Zealand based Meridian Energy Limited said that the resignation was prompted by McManus’ decision to pursue position at another Australian business.
“Ed has been instrumental in leading the team at Meridian Energy Australia to galvanise its place as a challenger in a market dominated by larger companies,” Barclay said.
“Ed joined us in 2014. Under his watch, Meridian has been able to grow its Australian customer base and generation footprint across the market. We’re deeply grateful for Ed’s contribution.”
It is not yet known what the new position that McManus will take up will be. RenewEconomy understands that it is outside the energy industry.
The departure date for McManus has also yet to be determined. A company spokesperson said that the company will now commence the process of identifying a replacement CEO and/or the appointment of an acting CEO.
Since entering the Australian market in 2012, Powershop has grown to serve around 110,000 Australian electricity consumers, along with more than 22,000 gas customers.
McManus hit out at the state of energy politics in Australia in response to a Climate Council report released in April that detailed how Australia has ‘squandered’ a decade of energy policy, that has left Australia without a meaningful policy to reduce electricity emissions, nor spur new investment in electricity generation capacity.
“The report released today by the Climate Council tells the sorry tale of Australia’s climate inaction, for which the blame is to be shared across the political spectrum,” McManus told RenewEconomy at the time.
McManus had been a strong advocate for the coalition’s National Energy Guarantee, reasoning that while it was far from perfect, it was the best opportunity presented in a long time to achieve a bi-partisan agreement that would integrate climate change energy policy.
McManus took over as CEO of the company in 2016, when his predecessor, the outspoken Ben Burge, left the company to take up a role with Telstra. Burge now heads up Telstra’s budget internet and mobile subsidiary Belong.
Meridian Energy Australia, which predominantly controls the company’s generation portfolio, manages generation two wind farms, the Mt Miller and Mt Mercer wind farms as well as three hydroelectric power stations owned by the company.
While it remains much smaller than its New Zealand based parent company, the entry of Meridian and Powershop into the Australian market has proven reasonably successful, with the company able to distinguish itself as a provider of innovative energy products with a strong focus on renewable energy and emissions free electricity.
The news happens to coincide with the appointment of another former CEO of a major Australian energy company, former AGL Energy CEO Andy Vesey, to lead California’s biggest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric.
More to come.