Cheniere Energy, Inc. (NYSEMKT:LNG) announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Jack A. Fusco as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Fusco succeeds Neal A. Shear, who has served as Cheniere’s interim President and Chief Executive Officer since December 2015. Mr. Fusco joins Cheniere from Calpine Corporation, where he most recently served as Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors.
“Jack has spent over thirty years in the energy industry and has significant experience leading companies with large-scale, asset-intensive portfolios and implementing corporate strategies focused on capital allocation, strategic developments and optimizing shareholder value. This experience will translate well as we make our transition into one of the top global LNG companies with a platform substantially underpinned with long-term sale and purchase agreements,” said G. Andrea Botta, Chairman of the Board.
Mr. Botta continued, “The Board of Directors would like to thank Neal for his leadership during his term as interim President and CEO. During this period, Cheniere began exporting LNG from the first train completed at Sabine Pass; construction of the additional trains continues on time and on budget. Neal will continue to serve on the Board of Directors and will be a special advisor to the CEO, ensuring an orderly transition.”
“Cheniere is well-positioned for success as a global LNG market leader and I look forward to building upon the many successes achieved to date. Our priorities will be focused on continued execution and completion of the LNG trains, both under construction and under development, and further commercialization of our LNG portfolio,” said Mr. Fusco. “Finally, I look forward to working with the Cheniere team as we seek to create long-term value for our shareholders.”
Most recently, Mr. Fusco served as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors ofCalpine from August 2008 to May 2014 and as Executive Chairman from May 2014 through May 11, 2016. Mr. Fusco was recruited by Calpine’s key shareholders in 2008, just as that company was emerging from bankruptcy. Calpine is now America’s largest generator of electricity from natural gas, safely and reliably meeting the needs of an economy that demands cleaner, more fuel-efficient and dependable sources of electricity. As CEO of Calpine, Mr. Fusco managed a team of approximately 2,300 employees and led one of the largest purchasers of natural gas in America, a successful developer of new gas-fired power generation facilities and a company that has prudently managed the inherent commodity trading and balance sheet risks associated with being a merchant power producer. He will continue to serve as a director on the board of Calpine.
Mr. Fusco’s career of over thirty years in the energy industry began with his employment at Pacific Gas & Electric Company upon graduation from California State University, Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1984. He joined Goldman Sachs thirteen years later as a Vice President with responsibility for commodity trading and marketing of wholesale electricity, a role that led to the creation of Orion Power Holdings, an independent power producer that Mr. Fusco helped found with backing from Goldman Sachs, where he served as President and Chief Executive Officer from 1998-2002. In 2004, he was asked to serve as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Texas Genco LLC by a group of private institutional investors, and successfully managed the transition of that business from a subsidiary of a regulated utility to a strong and profitable independent company, generating a more than 5-fold return for shareholders upon its merger with NRG in 2006.
Cheniere has granted one-time employee inducement awards of 236,381 restricted shares to Mr. Fusco as of May 12, 2016.
Under Mr. Fusco’s employment agreement with the company, he has agreed to purchase $10,000,000worth of Cheniere’s common shares by no later than December 31, 2016. (Original Source)
Shares of Cheniere Energy closed yesterday at $32.72, down $0.77 or -2.30%. LNG has a 1-year high of $77.47 and a 1-year low of $22.80. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $35.73 and its 200-day moving average is $37.20.
On the ratings front, Cheniere has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on March 4, J.P. Morgan analyst Jeremy Tonet initiated coverage with a Buy rating on LNG and a price target of $54, which implies an upside of 65.0% from current levels. Separately, on February 23, Goldman Sachs’ Steve Sherowski upgraded the stock to Buy and has a price target of $46.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Jeremy Tonet and Steve Sherowski have a total average return of 3.9% and 17.6% respectively. Tonet has a success rate of 56.6% and is ranked #775 out of 3845 analysts, while Sherowski has a success rate of 92.9% and is ranked #513.
Cheniere Energy, Inc. is engaged in the development, construction and operation of LNG terminals and marketing of LNG and natural gas. It operates through the LNG terminal and LNG and natural gas marketing segments. The LNG terminal segment comprises of the operational Sabine Pass LNG terminal in western Cameron Parish, Louisiana on the Sabine Pass Channel and the following two other LNG terminals that are in various stages of development. The LNG and natural gas marketing segment consists of Cheniere Marketing, LLC (Cheniere Marketing) marketing LNG and natural gas on its own behalf and assisting Cheniere Investments in an effort to utilize the regasification capacity held at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal. The company was founded by Charif Souki on February 21, 1996 and is headquartered in Houston, TX.