Girling to take helm at TransCanada

Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:57pm EDT
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By Jeffrey Jones

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Russ Girling, a veteran of TransCanada Corp's decade-plus overhaul, will take over as chief executive after current CEO Hal Kvisle retires at the start of July, the country's largest pipeline operator said on Thursday.

Girling, 47, has held several finance and operating posts since joining TransCanada in 1994, and now as chief operating officer is overseeing its expansion into a major transporter of Canadian oil sands crude.

He was seen as the logical choice to succeed Kvisle, who is retiring after 11 years with the C$26 billion ($26 billion) pipeline and power generation company, the last nine as CEO.

Girling and Kvisle, 57, worked together on such major initiatives as expanding the company's portfolio of U.S. gas pipelines and power generating assets as gas flows on its best-known holding -- the Canadian mainline -- wane.

The rebuilding has come after a major asset sale and debt reduction run at the start of the decade as TransCanada struggled to digest its C$7.7 billion takeover of Nova Corp, at the time Canada's largest energy deal.

"They've been together for a long time in that capacity, so I'm sure they see things the same way," said Chad Friess, analyst with UBS Canada Securities.

TransCanada shares rose 4 Canadian cents to C$37.64 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, showing investors were neither surprised nor displeased, Friess said.

Investors can expect little divergence from the strategy Girling helped develop, he said in an interview.   Continued...