Cheniere Energy, Inc. has announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Jack A. Fusco as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Fusco succeeds Neal A. Shear, who has served as Cheniere's interim President and Chief Executive Officer since December 2015. Fusco joins Cheniere from Calpine Corporation, where he most recently served as Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors.
"Jack has spent over 30 years in the energy industry and has significant experience leading companies with large scale, asset intensive portfolios and implementing corporate strategies focused on capital allocation, strategic developments and optimizing shareholder value. This experience will translate well as we make our transition into one of the top global LNG companies with a platform substantially underpinned with long term sale and purchase agreements," said G. Andrea Botta, Chairman of the Board.
Botta continued, "The Board of Directors would like to thank Neal for his leadership during his term as interim President and CEO. During this period, Cheniere began exporting LNG from the first train completed at Sabine Pass; construction of the additional trains continues on time and on budget. Neal will continue to serve on the Board of Directors and will be a special advisor to the CEO, ensuring an orderly transition."
"Cheniere is well positioned for success as a global LNG market leader and I look forward to building upon the many successes achieved to date. Our priorities will be focused on continued execution and completion of the LNG trains, both under construction and under development, and further commercialisation of our LNG portfolio," said Fusco. "Finally, I look forward to working with the Cheniere team as we seek to create long term value for our shareholders."
Most recently, Fusco served as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Calpine from August 2008 to May 2014 and as Executive Chairman from May 2014 through 11 May 2016. Fusco was recruited by Calpine's key shareholders in 2008, just as that company was emerging from bankruptcy. Calpine is now America's largest generator of electricity from natural gas, safely and reliably meeting the needs of an economy that demands cleaner, more fuel efficient and dependable sources of electricity. As CEO of Calpine, Fusco managed a team of approximately 2300 employees and led one of the largest purchasers of natural gas in America, a successful developer of new gas-fired power generation facilities and a company that has prudently managed the inherent commodity trading and balance sheet risks associated with being a merchant power producer. He will continue to serve as a director on the board of Calpine.
Fusco's career of over 30 years in the energy industry began with his employment at Pacific Gas & Electric Company upon graduation from California State University, Sacramento, with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1984. He joined Goldman Sachs 13 years later as a Vice President with responsibility for commodity trading and marketing of wholesale electricity, a role that led to the creation of Orion Power Holdings, an independent power producer that Fusco helped found with backing from Goldman Sachs, where he served as President and Chief Executive Officer from 1998 - 2002. In 2004, he was asked to serve as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Texas Genco LLC by a group of private institutional investors, and successfully managed the transition of that business from a subsidiary of a regulated utility to a strong and profitable independent company, generating a more than five-fold return for shareholders upon its merger with NRG in 2006.
Cheniere has granted one time employee inducement awards of 236 381 restricted shares to Fusco as of 12 May 2016. Under Fusco's employment agreement with the company, he has agreed to purchase US$10 million worth of Cheniere's common shares by no later than 31 December 2016.
Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling
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