Canada utility CEO quits after improprieties alleged

Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:02pm EST
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By Jeffrey Jones

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - The chief executive of the municipal power utility in Calgary, Alberta, has resigned, the company said on Friday, following a series of incidents that won him notoriety well beyond the western Canadian city.

City-owned Enmax Corp said Gary Holden is leaving the company, effective immediately, a day after a report said he accepted a trip to Monaco paid for by a vendor to the company.

Holden had already come under fire for hosting company-funded parties at his home featuring Canadian rock stars, then firing off a lengthy memo warning employees about leaking information to reporters.

That caught the attention of Forbes Magazine, which ranked it as fifth in its "Top 10 Biggest CEO Screw-Ups" of 2010.

Enmax's board and Calgary's mayor declined to say precisely why Holden was leaving, noting only that the controversy had become "a distraction."

"Insofar as this will help us get beyond that and help us continue to do good work for Calgarians and help Enmax to continue to grow and succeed, that's not such a bad thing," Mayor Naheed Nenshi told reporters.

Holden's departure follows a Canadian Broadcasting Corp report that Holden accepted a trip to the Monaco Grand Prix in 2008 on the tab of software company SAP, which does business with the utility.

"The board of directors is looking into the context of those allegations, and I think we need to wait and see what is found out about that," said Brian Pincott, one of two city councilors who sit on the board.   Continued...