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Founding chief executive of Mighty River Power Doug Heffernan will leave the company after 16 years at the helm under arrangements that trigger a $500,000 retention payment on top of his existing salary of almost $1.5 million last year.
The arrangements mean Mr Heffernan will see through the company's partial privatisation and its first full financial year as a publicly listed company.
MRP chairwoman Joan Withers announced Mr Heffernan had undertaken to stay on in the role through to the preparation of accounts for the year to June 30, 2014. He will work through to August 31, next year.
A variation to his contract, disclosed last year, allows him a $500,000 retention payment for staying on until December 31, 2014.
The government is preparing to sell up to 49 percent of MRP in a share offer to the public next month, with listing on the NZX and ASX expected before the Budget, in mid-May.
MRP had previously announced a variation to Mr Heffernan's contract, creating a fixed term to either December 31 this year or, at the board's option, to December 31, 2014, which would trigger the retention payment.
MRP was not able immediately to confirm whether departing four months earlier than that would reduce the extent of the one-off payment for Mr Heffernan, who was named CEO of the year at last year's Energy News industry awards.
"We are fortunate that Doug, our chief executive since the company's formation in 1998, has committed through to the finalisation of the accounts to the end of the 2014 financial year, a period in which there will be a lot of eyes on MRP and our performance," Ms Withers says.
"This provides the board with certainty and the ability to plan for the succession process and appointment of a new chief executive."
She says there has already been considerable thought given to planning for Mr Heffernan's departure, with a recruitment process expected to begin late this year.