AGL, the nation’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, has appointed former finance chief Damien Nicks to be its new chief executive and lead the utilities giant’s accelerating transition from coal-fired power to cleaner energy.
Following a domestic and global search, AGL chairman Patricia McKenzie on Thursday said the board had appointed Nicks, who has been the interim CEO since March, to the role on a permanent basis.
“The board has been particularly impressed by Damien’s leadership of the business, including his role in championing AGL’s new strategy,” McKenzie said.
AGL’s former CEO and managing director, Graeme Hunt, resigned last year after Australian tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes amassed an 11 per cent shareholding in AGL and launched a successful investor campaign to scuttle the company’s controversial proposal to spin out its carbon-intensive coal-fired power stations into a new entity that would have continued burning the fossil fuel until the mid-2040s.
Cannon-Brookes’ campaign ultimately forced the resignations of Hunt and several board members and triggered a strategic review into AGL’s future direction. The board has since resolved to close its last-remaining coal plant, Loy Yang A in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, up to 10 years earlier in 2035, and invest $20 billion on renewable energy and back-up “firming” assets by 2036.
Nicks joined AGL in March 2013 and was chief financial officer from August 2018, before becoming interim CEO in October 2022. He has 27 years’ experience with significant energy, customer and multinational experience across a number of sectors including logistics, industrial and professional services.
On Thursday, Nicks said it was an honour to be appointed as AGL’s new managing director and CEO at such an “important time in AGL’s history”, accelerating the transition to become a leading supplier of low-carbon energy.
“I’m excited to lead this great organisation and I’m looking forward to getting on with the job of implementing our new strategy for a sustainable future in line with shareholder and community
expectations,” he said.
While AGL’s new climate strategy and coal closure timelines won the backing of 70 per cent of voting shareholders at its annual investor meeting late last year, Cannon-Brookes and other institutional shareholders have vowed to keep pressing for even faster and deeper emissions cuts that would align with the Paris Agreement’s ultimate aim of limiting global heating to 1.5 degrees.
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Source: Thanks smh.com