South Jersey Industries, parent of natural gas utility South Jersey Gas, announced Friday that its chairman and CEO is retiring, and named his successors.Upon the April 30, 2015, retirement of Edward J. Graham, current President and Chief Operating Officer Michael J. Renna will assume the CEO role, while Walter M. Higgins III, SJI’s lead independent director, will become chairman of the board. Both changes will be effective May 1, 2015, the company said in a news release.
Graham has served as CEO since January 2004, capping a 33-year career with the Folsom-based company.
“I am grateful to have spent the majority of my career at SJI, and am extremely honored to have led the company during the past 11 years,” he said in a prepared statement. “Working with such an experienced and talented team of employees has been a pleasure and I am proud of our accomplishments. SJI is in a strong position and I am confident about the future prospects in the years ahead under Mike Renna’s leadership.”
Renna was promoted as part of a structured succession plan. He joined SJI in 1998, and was named SJI’s president and COO, as well as elected to the board, in 2014.
Higgins joined the board in 2008 and became lead independent director is 2010. He is CEO and president of Ascendant Group Ltd. and CEO and president of Bermuda Electric Light Company Ltd.
“On behalf of SJI’s board of directors, I want to thank Ed for his outstanding leadership,” Higgins said in a prepared statement. “During his tenure as CEO, Ed provided the leadership which has driven SJI’s success operationally and financially in addition to developing an outstanding management team.”
In other news, SJI announced that its board has increased the regular quarterly dividend from 47.25 cents per share to 50.25 cents per share. The next quarterly dividend is payable Dec. 30 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 22.
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