RAPID CITY, S.D. - Oct. 31, 2018 - David R. Emery, chairman and chief executive officer, notified the Black Hills Corp. board of directors on Oct. 29, 2018, that he will retire as the company`s CEO on Dec. 31. To facilitate a smooth leadership transition, Emery will continue to serve as an employee of the company in the role of executive chairman of the board of directors until May 1, 2020, following the expiration of his current board term ending at the April 2020 annual meeting of shareholders. Consistent with the company`s long-standing and comprehensive leadership succession plan, the board appointed Linden R. ("Linn") Evans, currently president and chief operating officer, to succeed Emery as chief executive officer effective Jan. 1, 2019. Evans was also appointed to the board of directors effective Nov. 1, 2018.
"David joined the company in 1989 as a petroleum engineer and has proudly served for more than 29 years, as CEO for the past 15 years, and chairman of the board for the past 14 years. He is an exemplary executive, a leader with the highest integrity. He has led the company through a transformative period of sustained growth, and it is very well positioned for the future," said John B. Vering, lead director of the board. "David`s unwavering commitment to operational excellence, value creation and customer service has benefited our shareholders, the communities we serve and our outstanding employees. During his tenure, Black Hills Corp. has been transformed from a diversified energy company with 61,000 electric customers to an electric and natural gas utility with 1.25 million customers in 800 communities in eight states."
Emery said, "It has been my great privilege and the highlight of my career to lead Black Hills and serve alongside the best employee team in the industry. I am extremely proud of all that we have accomplished together to position Black Hills as an outstanding utility company, more than tripling the company`s assets, market capitalization and employee team. I am also proud of what we`ve achieved to enhance our customer service, strengthen the reliability and resiliency of our energy delivery systems, improve our safety performance and achieve industry leading employee engagement, while investing in diverse energy assets and resources to meet our utility customers` growing energy needs.
"I am confident that now is the right time to transition the company to its next leader. This carefully-planned leadership transition comes at an opportune time for Black Hills, having recently completed our transition to a pure-play utility. Linn is the right person to lead Black Hills into the future, he has played an instrumental leadership role in the transformation and growth of our organization during his years with the company," said Emery. "His leadership and capabilities will guide the company to execute its future growth plans and continue its success in championing the interests of our customers, communities and shareholders. I have great confidence in the strength of our leadership and employee team, as well as the tremendous opportunities ahead for Black Hills. As executive chairman, I look forward to assisting Linn and the leadership team, helping ensure a successful and seamless transition for all of our stakeholders."
Vering added, "Linn`s various leadership roles during 17 years with Black Hills have prepared him very well for his new role as president and chief executive officer. His promotion is the result of a comprehensive, board-led succession planning process and we are confident that the company will continue to thrive under his leadership."
Evans, 56, has served as the company`s president and chief operating officer since January 2016. He previously served as president and chief operating officer of the company`s utilities from 2004 through 2015, as vice president and general manager of the company`s former telecommunication subsidiary in 2003 and 2004 and as associate counsel from 2001 to 2003. Prior to joining Black Hills, Evans was an engineer and manager for several mining organizations and thereafter engaged in the private practice of law, specializing in environmental and corporate legal matters. Evans has a bachelor`s degree in mining engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and a J.D. from the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College.
"It has been a distinct honor and privilege to work with David as our CEO, and I am excited to lead Black Hills Corp. in the future and to continue the strong partnership I have with the board and David as our executive chairman. David is an inspiring leader, mentor and friend. All of us at Black Hills wish him many years of happiness and success. I`m equally excited to continue an outstanding partnership with the company`s experienced leadership team, most of whom have played key roles in the company`s past success. I`m humbled and honored to be selected to carry on Black Hills` proud 135-year tradition of service, commitment to our communities and growth," said Linn Evans. "As our industry continues to undergo a period of rapid transformation and technological advances, our customers and shareholders can be assured that Black Hills stands ready to continue to serve them well."
Black Hills Corporation
Black Hills Corp. (BKH) is a customer focused, growth-oriented utility company with a tradition of improving life with energy and a vision to be the energy partner of choice. Based in Rapid City, South Dakota, the company serves 1.25 million natural gas and electric utility customers in eight states: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. More information is available at www.blackhillscorp.com.
Jerome E. Nichols
24-Hour Media Relations Line
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Source: Black Hills Corporation via GlobeNewswire