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Allegheny Energy names interim president/CEO

April 17, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Jay S. Pifer, senior vice president of Allegheny Energy Inc., will become interim president and chief executive officer of the utility on Friday, ending Alan J. Noia's seven-year tenure, company officials announced Wednesday.

News of Noia's retirement as president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board for the debt-ridden utility was announced March 6.

Allegheny officials had said Noia would stay on until his successor was found, but his last day will be Friday, Allegheny Energy spokeswoman Cynthia Shoop said.

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"He feels as though the search is far enough along and (he) has enough confidence in Mr. Pifer that he can retire at this point and the company would be in good hands," Shoop said.

Shoop would not say if Pifer is a candidate to be Noia's permanent replacement.

Pifer, 65, has been president of Allegheny Power since 1995, Shoop said. Allegheny Power is Allegheny Energy's energy delivery subsidiary.

Pifer earned a base salary of $285,000 and company stock worth $98,548 in 2001, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He earned an incentive award of $191,300 in 2002 based on the company's performance goals in 2001.

Allegheny has hired the executive search firm of Heidrick & Struggles to help find a permanent president, chief executive officer and chairman, Shoop said.

Shoop said the search is on the fast track, but she did not have a timeline for when the job will be filled.

"Obviously, we don't want to rush through this," Shoop said. "We hope to make an announcement in the near future."

Pifer, of Greensburg, Pa., was not available Wednesday for comment.

Shoop said Pifer splits his time between the Greensburg office and Allegheny's corporate office off Downsville Pike southwest of Hagerstown.

The announcement of Pifer as interim president comes as Allegheny officials continue a comprehensive review of last year's financial statements after finding mistakes. The company has yet to restate those financial statements.

The utility avoided filing for bankruptcy when company officials negotiated $2.437 billion in secured and unsecured loans in late February.

On March 10, company officials announced the postponement of Allegheny's annual shareholders' meeting so they could finish reviewing financial statements. The meeting was to have been held May 8. It has not been rescheduled.

Allegheny officials also announced Wednesday that board of directors member James J. Hoecker has been appointed lead director of the board.

Lead director is a new position and Hoecker will assume some of the responsibilities of the board chairman until a new chairman is named, Shoop said.

Hoecker, 57, of Markham, Va., has been a board member since July 2001, Shoop said. He is a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman, LLP, and is a former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Allegheny Energy delivers electric and natural gas service to approximately 3 million people in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Ohio.

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