Xcel CEO Kelly to Retire; COO Fowke Named Successor

Richard Kelly, who has spent the past four decades with Xcel and its predecessors, will leave in August-at which point Benjamin G.S. Fowke III will take the reins.

After 43 years with the company and its predecessors, including the last six as CEO, Richard C. Kelly has announced his intention to leave Xcel Energy, Inc., this summer.

Benjamin G.S. Fowke III-who now serves as president and chief operating officer-will succeed Kelly upon his retirement on August 24. He was selected by Xcel's board of directors.

Kelly, 64, has numerous positions with Xcel and its predecessors-New Century Energies and Public Service Company of Colorado.

“Dick has done an extraordinary job managing the company's operations while developing an environmental platform that has established Xcel Energy as a true leader in the industry,” Fredric W. Corrigan, lead director on Xcel's board and retired CEO of The Mosaic Company, said in a statement.

Xcel is Minnesota's largest power company and the United States' number-one provider of wind power. It serves 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through operating companies in eight Western and Midwestern states.

Similarly to Kelly, 53-year-old Fowke has also occupied a variety of positions at Xcel-including executive vice president and chief financial officer. Prior to the 2000 merger of Northern States Power Company and New Century Energies, which formed Xcel, Fowke served as a vice president in the New Century Energies retail business unit. And earlier in his career, he spent 10 years with Juno Beach, Florida-based Next Era Energy Resources, LLC.

According to Corrigan, Kelly and Fowke have worked together closely during Kelly's term as CEO, and the board “has been impressed with Ben's leadership skills, business acumen, and strategic approach.”

Xcel is Minnesota's ninth-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $10.3 billion in 2010.