AGL Energy Boss Anthony Departs, Replacement Named


AGL Energy, Australia's largest electricity retailer, said on Monday that Chief Executive Paul Anthony had left the company, following an earnings downgrade, and would be replaced by Michael Fraser.

Fraser, who's most recent post was general manager of AGL's merchant energy division, would take over with immediate effect, the company said in a statement.

"The board believes Michael Fraser is the right person to lead the company from this point. He has extensive energy industry experience; is highly respected by his peers; and has a deep operational working knowledge of the company," AGL Chairman Mark Johnson said in a statement.

Fraser, who has more than 20 years experience in the energy sector, led the expansion of AGL's upstream energy assets in his previous role.

Johnson said the company had achieved substantial scale under Anthony's leadership. 

AGL completed a A$6.3 billion asset and debt swap with Perth-based Alinta last year, has been aggressively boosting its stakes in gas fields and acquired several power generating companies in Queensland state.

However, the circumstances leading up to last week's earnings downgrade had led to the view it was "the right time for a new management approach" and to focus on the company's core operations, Johnson said.

AGL last week cut its 2008 profit forecast to between A$330-$360 million (US$295 - US$321 million), down from an earlier forecast of between A$380-A$400 million, citing higher costs and lower margins.

The surprise earnings downgrade, which came just weeks after AGL said 2008 profit would be at the upper end of its forecast range, sent its shares tumbling to an all-time low and wiped out more than A$1 billion from its market value.