Hydro One and Avista select independent directors for post-merger Avista board

Hydro One Limited and Avista Corporation have selected the five independent directors to serve on the new Avista Board of Directors, if the proposed merger is approved by utility commissions in Washington, Idaho and Oregon.

The proposed merger has received regulatory approval from the Alaska and Montana commissions and other federal agencies. As outlined in the proposed merger commitments pending before the commissions, two independent directors were selected by Avista and three by Hydro One. All five selections are independent of both organizations, as defined by New York Stock Exchange rules, and have ties to the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

The four remaining directors will include Avista’s current chief executive officer and chairman, Scott Morris; current Avista president and director Dennis Vermillion; the CEO of Hydro One and one other senior executive from Hydro One, to be named.

“As we move through the regulatory process, the selection of these independent board members is a vital step in affirming that we will have strong oversight and leadership in place and ready to engage once the transaction closes,” Morris said. “These individuals are highly experienced, well-versed in our business, understand the needs of our communities and have demonstrated outstanding commitment to our region. We’re also pleased that members of Avista’s current board have agreed to serve on the future board, and we believe this benefits both organizations and provides for continuity of leadership.”

The independent directors were selected at this time so that the Avista board of directors would be prepared and ready to begin serving their terms assuming the proposed transaction is approved and closes, which is requested by the end of this year. The newly selected directors are:

  • Kristianne Blake (Avista selection): Blake serves on the current Avista Board of Directors as lead director and has been an Avista Director since 2000. She has been the president of the accounting firm of Kristianne Gates Blake, P.S. since 1987 and has an extensive background in public accounting.
  • Donald Burke (Avista selection): Burke serves on the current Avista Board of Directors as the chair of the audit committee and has been an Avista Director since 2011. As a director, he serves as the Board’s designated financial expert. He also currently serves as an independent director for the Virtus mutual fund complex and Duff & Phelps closed-end funds complex.
  • Christine Gregoire (Hydro One selection): Gregoire is the CEO for Challenge Seattle, an organization comprised of 18 major international companies and non-profits located in the Seattle region. Previously, she served for two terms as Governor of the State of Washington with a $32 billion biennial budget and over 60,000 employees.
  • Scott Maw (Hydro One selection): Maw serves on the current Avista Board of Directors and has been an Avista Director since 2016.  He has been executive vice president and CFO for Starbucks Coffee Company since February 2014. He is responsible for Starbucks’ Global Finance organization.
  • Marc Racicot (Hydro One selection): Racicot serves on the current Avista Board of Directors and has been an Avista Director since 2009. He is a former governor (1993 to 2001) and attorney general (1989 to 1993) of the state of Montana.

Hydro One is Ontario, Canada’s largest electricity transmission and distribution provider with more than 1.3 million customers, over C$25 billion in assets and 2017 annual revenues of nearly C$6 billion.

Avista Corporation is an energy company involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses.

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