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At its board meeting on Jan. 11, 2006, the board of directors of Connecticut Water Service unanimously approved the appointment of Eric W. Thornburg as president, CEO and director of the company. He will assume the president/CEO position at Connecticut Water on March 1, 2006.
Thornburg, 45, was selected for the post after an extensive national search to find the successor to Marshall T. Chiaraluce, 63, who had been president/CEO and chairman of the board since 1992. Chiaraluce will remain full-time chairman of Connecticut Water until his retirement from the company and the board of directors in the spring of 2007.
Thornburg was most recently president of Missouri-American Water, a subsidiary of American Water Works Corp. He currently leads all government and regulatory affairs for American Water's central region, spanning 15 states in the Midwest. At Missouri-American Water, the utility provides service to 1.3 million people, Thornburg led a workforce of 650 employees. During his four years at Missouri-American Water, he was primarily responsible for growing revenues and net income by approximately 30%. He has also held leadership positions at American Water in Indiana and Pennsylvania.
American Water has operations in 29 states and generates more than $2 billion a year in water revenue. In 2003, American Water was acquired by the German-based conglomerate RWE, a Global 100 company with $57 billion in revenue.
Thornburg has a bachelor's degree from Cornell University and an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University. He and his family will be relocating to Connecticut from Missouri.
In commenting on Thornburg's appointment, Chiaraluce, chairman of the board, said, "Eric has spent his entire working career in the water industry. He has a wealth of experience in delivering operating results, building teams, and relating with regulatory agencies. Throughout his career his integrity, character, and effective style have served him well in leading water utility operations much larger than ours. We are fortunate to have attracted Eric to Connecticut Water. He is exactly what we need to continue our progress and to meet the challenges and growth opportunities of the company."
During his tenure as CEO, Chiaraluce, is credited with initiating the company's first strategic plan, and through its implementation the company has produced 13 consecutive years of record earnings and increased dividends while improving customer service. The company has grown from 58,000 to over 80,000 customers, in 41 Connecticut towns, has acquired 12 water utilities, and has developed other financially successful unregulated businesses under his leadership.