Just Energy Group (NYSE:JE) announced today that CEO Ken Hartwick will step down at the end of this fiscal year after 10 years with the company in order to "pursue personal interests," and will be replaced by two inside hires.
Effective April 1, Just Energy Group, will be co-led by current Executive Vice President of Commercial Operations Deborah Merril, as well as its COO James Lewis.
Rebecca MacDonald, Just Energy Group's executive chair, sees the transition as a natural for the two industry insiders, saying in a press release:
There is no better tandem to lead our dynamic organization into its next phase as Deb and Jay bring to their new leadership roles extensive industry experience and a thorough knowledge of how Just Energy operates. Jay and Deb have worked together for 16 years and during their tenure at the Company, have demonstrated unique, complimentary capabilities that will provide the balanced leadership we are seeking to take our organization forward as we move to expand our leadership position in North America.
As goals for the upcoming executives, MacDonald mentioned maintaining growth, focusing on the company's product bundling strategy, and further reducing its dividend payout ratio "to support the income our shareholders expect to receive."
Merril joined Just Energy in 2008 and is currently leading up Just Energy subsidiary Hudson Energy's commercial division. Lewis joined the same year and has served as the company's COO since 2011.
Hartwick said he "fully intends[s] to be a resource to [Merril and Lewis] over the forseeable future."