New full-time chairman appointed to Synergy

Energy Minister Mike Nahan today announced the head of the State’s Economic Regulation Authority, Lyndon Rowe as the new, full-time chairman of the State-owned energy retailer and generator Synergy.

Mr Rowe succeeds Michael Smith who stepped down from the Synergy board after eight years at the helm of the government trading enterprise.

Dr Nahan said Synergy was in a significant period of transformation and the time was right for a change at board level after the successful merger between the old Synergy and Verve Energy.

“Mr Rowe brings a wealth of experience in areas of the electricity market and a new perspective to the role as the full-time chairman of Synergy,” he said.

“The new business will continue to evolve as the State Government focuses on dealing with the challenges confronting energy utilities in a changing marketplace and reducing Synergy’s reliance on its operating subsidy.

“Mr Rowe is the right person to position the new Synergy for the future while simultaneously ensuring the government trading enterprise maintains its critical role in underpinning the State’s energy security.”

The Minister said the scale of the newly merged Synergy now required a full-time chairman to support CEO Jason Waters in turning the business around from a commercial, cultural and operational perspective and reducing its reliance on taxpayer-funded operating subsidies.

Mr Rowe has been chairman of the ERA since March 2004, is a former chief executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia and is a current director of Perth Airport Pty Ltd.

Mr Rowe said he was delighted to be appointed chairman of Synergy and was excited by the challenges that lay ahead of the corporation.

Dr Nahan also announced the appointment of David Hunt as a Synergy director. Mr Hunt is a former director of the old Synergy, has served as chief executive of New Zealand-based Contact Energy, and is a current director of Concept Consulting.

Both appointments are effective immediately. Mr Rowe has stepped down from the ERA.

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