Enmax CEO Gianna Manes said she intends to retire in 2020.
Darren Makowichuk / Postmedia
Enmax CEO Gianna Manes announced Tuesday that she will retire from the company next year once the city-owned utility has finalized a deal to acquire a Maine-based electricity company.Manes has been at the helm of Enmax for the last seven years during a turbulent time in Alberta’s electricity industry, and she will depart in May 2020 to join family members in the U.S. She made the announcement at the utility’s annual meeting with shareholders Tuesday.“It was a really hard decision. I love Calgary. We’re still here and it’s become home,” said Manes, who joined Enmax in 2012. “The reason I’m staying longer is to make sure that Enmax is on stable footing and we can have a nice orderly transition and make sure that we can get this acquisition behind us with the approvals of Maine.”Enmax announced its intention to purchase Emera Maine in a deal worth nearly $2 billion in March. The purchase is still subject to state and federal regulatory approvals, but if approved the move would mark Enmax’s first expansion south of the border.Mayor Naheed Nenshi praised the Enmax CEO Tuesday, crediting her with a powerful “reset” of the utility’s corporate culture that ended perks and executive compensation that was “out of control.”“She not only fixed the corporate culture, particularly the ‘tone from the top’, but she really helped craft a much more thoughtful strategy for Enmax, which has really culminated in this Emera Maine transaction,” Nenshi said.Related
“It’s a strategy that looks at (acquiring) regulated, safe assets that immediately return money to the citizens of Calgary. It’s the right strategy for these times. For me, none of that would’ve happened without Gianna and her tremendous leadership.”Nenshi also credited Manes for overseeing a corporate suite with more women than any other major corporation in Calgary.Enmax declared a dividend of $50 million in 2019 to be paid to the City of Calgary, a 25 per cent increase over the previous year.The company reported about $5.6 billion in assets in 2018 and revenues of $2.4 billion.The utility saw its credit rating placed under review by rating agency DBRS last March over the decision to acquire Emera Maine. DBRS suggested the move could weaken the utility’s cash flow-to-debt ratio.Financing for the deal was raised by Enmax and did not require additional funding from the City of Calgary.Tuesday’s meeting saw the announcement that city council members will no longer sit on the Enmax board of directors, following a decision by the board and the resignations of councillors Peter Demong and Shane Keating in May.Board chair Greg Melchin said Enmax will now meet quarterly with city council as a whole to share information. He characterized the absence of elected officials as “standard practice” on other utility boards like EPCOR.“It actually puts them in conflicts of interest,” Melchin said Tuesday. “There’s sensitive information that they need to look at (and) what’s in the best interest of Enmax versus what’s in the best interest as a representative on council for the citizens of Calgary — they can be very different issues and we have faced that a number of times.”email@example.comOn Twitter: @mpotkins