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This article was published 26/6/2015 (1701 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba Hydro president and CEO Scott Thomson is quitting his job to rejoin his family fulltime and take on a senior executive job in the private sector.
Thomson broke the news to staff earlier today and said he has agreed to stay on through the summer to assist the corporation’s board in finding his replacement.
"It’s been very heart-warming the response I’ve been getting from my people," Thomson said today. "It just underscores how much this place means to me."
Thomson joined Manitoba Hydro in February 2012 and inherited the utility’s long-term plan to build new generating stations and transmission lines.
During Thomson’s tenure, Hydro secured approvals and started construction of the Keeyask hydroelectric generation project on the Nelson River, the Bipole III transmission line and the Pointe du Bois spillway replacement.
The projects and other upgrades to the province’s electrical grid, and a new line to Minnesota, will see steep losses in Hydro’s projected net income 2018-2024. The cost of the new lines and plants, and the cost of upgrading Hydro's aging power production and distribution system, will be more than $17 billion over the next several years.
Premier Greg Selinger has already said Hydro's capital spending is one reason why the government wants to move away from summary budget reporting back to core.
Thomson’s departure is not a surprise as he has been commuting from Vancouver to Winnipeg for several months.
Thomson said his new work commute time is about 10 minutes.
He said he’s been hired as president and CEO of The Corix Group Companies headquartered in Vancouver.
"With my family being Vancouver and me being here five days a week, it wasn’t sustainable," he said. "We got the job done, but it took too much of a toll on my wife and kids and me, and at the end of the day, I can’t think of anything more important than that."
Thomson and his wife, Silvia Vidas, have two children.
Selinger said he found out about Thomson’s departure earlier in the week.
"He’s feeling the pull of family ties back to British Columbia," the premier said. "He’ll be missed, but he did a great job for us while he was here."
Thomson said he believes the time is ripe for him to rejoin his family as the right people are in place at Hydro to oversee the utility’s major projects.
"We’ve got an excellent team in place and the major initiatives that I’ve been involved with are at a point in their development that we’ve got all the approvals necessary, we’re in construction and the projects are tracking well," he said. "It’s not like it would not been rewarding to be here to the completion of construction, but it’s in very good hands. The executive team is excellently positioned and has what it takes to do what is necessary."
Thomson’s announcement of his departure comes on the same day that Minnesota Power released the draft environmental study for the Great Northern Transmission Line, which it is building in partnership with Manitoba Hydro to deliver more electricity to the state.
Bill Fraser, chairman of the board of directors of Manitoba Hydro said in a statement: "Scott has done an outstanding job as CEO of Manitoba Hydro. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Scott for his service and to wish him and his family all the best."
Thomson also said he believes Manitoba Hydro has made good progress in building relationships with aboriginal people, but that it has to continue.
"There’s still work to be done on that file, but I’d like to think we have made a difference there," he said.
Updated on Friday, June 26, 2015 at 1:54 PM CDT: Updates with full writethru, replaces photo