NorthWestern Energy selects new CEO

NorthWestern Energy has appointed Brian Bird as successor to CEO Bob Rowe, a transition already more than a year in process.

The utility’s board of directors appointed Bird on Wednesday, though the succession process dates back to February 2021 when the board appointed Bird as chief operating officer and president. Rowe had been president prior to that point.

Rowe, the company’s CEO of 14 years will cease being chief executive at year’s end, when he also leaves the NorthWestern board. Rowe, 66, is at retirement age. The transition isn’t related to company performance or financial health the company told investors. Bird will join NorthWestern’s board of directors Jan. 1, as well.

NorthWestern is Montana’s largest monopoly utility with roughly 379,000 electric meters in service and 200,000 natural gas meters.

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The board made no decision on Bird’s future compensation. In 2021, Rowe’s total compensation was $3.44 million, an amount roughly 28 times the median compensation of NorthWestern employees, according to corporate filings.

Bird’s total compensation in 2021 was $1.8 million. He first joined NorthWestern in 2003 as chief financial officer. Bird is 59 years old. 

“Bob Rowe is passionate about NorthWestern Energy’s culture,

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