Empire District Electric Co. (NYSE: EDE) CEO Bill Gipson has announced his retirement, effective May 31.
Brad Beecher, 45, executive vice president and chief operating officer, was elected to immediately succeed Gipson.
Gipson began working for Empire District in 1981 in the information technology department. He was promoted to manager of economic development in 1987, and again promoted in 1995 to director of commercial operations. In 1997, he was named general manager of commercial operations. Later that year, he also was elected vice president of commercial operations. In 2001, Gipson was named executive vice president and chief operating officer. He was elected to the board of directors in 2002, and as president and CEO later that year.
“Bill Gipson has successfully led the company through a challenging time,”
Empire District board Chairman D. Randy Laney said in a news release. “During his leadership years, the company’s assets nearly doubled from about $860 million in 2004 to approximately $1.5 billion at the end of 2010.
"Bill’s focused leadership will be missed. We are fortunate to have a
very capable senior management team in place.”
Beecher joined Empire District in 1988 as a staff engineer at the Riverton, Kan., power plant. He has held various positions with the company since that time, including director of production planning and administration and director of strategic planning. He stepped away from Empire District from 1999-2001 to work for Black & Veatch Corp., an engineering and construction firm in Kansas City.
He returned to Empire District in 2001 as vice president of energy supply. He was promoted to vice president and operating officer of electric in June 2006, and most recently to executive vice president and chief operating officer. Beecher serves on the boards of the Joplin Business and Industrial Development Corp., the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Missouri and the Kiwanis Club of Joplin.
"Working closely with Bill Gipson over the years has given me the opportunity to see an example of leadership at its finest," Beecher said via e-mail. "My focus remains on our customers and providing the safe, reliable service they have expected from Empire for over 100 years.
"Empire’s leadership team has the knowledge and experience to lead the company into the future."
Empire District has about 215,000 customers in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. A subsidiary of the company also provides fiber optic services.
The company has scheduled its fourth-quarter earnings conference call to start today at noon. After the conference call is finished, it will be available online
until Feb. 5.
Empire District Electric Co. shares were trading at $21.54 as of 11:50 a.m. today, compared to a 52-week range of $17.57 to $22.50.[[In-content Ad]]