IN A surprise move, long-serving chief executive Terry Charlton is stepping down as boss of Snowy Hydro. The timing is uncertain at this stage but he will will leave the company when a replacement is found.
Mr Charlton has been chief executive for 14 years and has overseen significant changes and diversification of the company's role.
He is extremely well known and respected in Cooma and the region for his hands on approach and particularly for his development of the company's close involvement in, and support of, local communities.
On Wednesday, for example, Mr Charlton will officiate at the opening of the Cooma Universities Centre, which is a joint venture of Snowy Hydro and Cooma-Monaro Shire Council. It is an innovative project aimed at improving tertiary education opportunities for communities of the Snowy Mountains.
The Board of Snowy Hydro has begun a search for his successor.
The chairman of Snowy Hydro, Bruce Hogan, said, "Terry has led Snowy Hydro with distinction for 14 years. The transformation of the former Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority to the world class commercial enterprise that is Snowy Hydro today is a credit to his leadership."
During Mr Charlton's tenure the company has grown from a hydro generator with a capacity of 3756 Megawatts to now have a combined hydro and gas generation capacity of 4526 Megawatts, and a highly competitive retail arm in Red Energy. The company has a very strong balance sheet and is returning dividends to its shareholders.
"Terry has ensured that our water and environmental responsibilities have been delivered for our stakeholders and he has put our people first with a focus on safety and skills development.
"He has developed a strong executive team and fostered high employee morale and strong community relationships. In short, Terry Charlton will leave the business in very good shape," Mr Hogan said.
Mr Charlton said that after 14 years, he was very proud of the achievements of the company.
"I'm even more proud of our employees who have made Snowy Hydro the success it is today," he said.