SANTIAGO, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Chilean power generator Colbun appointed on Monday as its new chief executive heavy-hitter Thomas Keller, the former CEO of state-run miner Codelco.
Keller will take the reins of Colbun on Oct. 1, after current CEO Ignacio Cruz leaves the post on Sept. 30, as the company looks to keep Chile’s largest and most-controversial power project alive.
Colbun and joint-venture partner Endesa Chile in August appealed the cancellation of the permit for the massive $9 billion HidroAysen power project, signaling the 2,750-megawatt dam complex was ready to put up a fight.
“Thomas will be responsible for leading the company and its collaborators in a new growth plan that will combine organic growth in Chile with eventual investment opportunities in other market in the region,” said Colbun board chairman Bernardo Larrain Matte.
Keller, a former retail executive, earned plaudits for his efforts to overhaul old mines and cut costs at world No. 1 copper producer Codelco, but his tough stance toward labor activism triggered tensions with its powerful unions and the country’s new center-left government and prompted his ouster. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)