Belfast Telegraph

Former Invest NI chief is new NIE chairman

By Margaret Canning

A businessman who recently resigned as Invest NI chief and will soon step down from the board of Allied Irish Banks has a new post - chairman of Northern Ireland Electricity.

Stephen Kingon (64) is joined on the NIE board by Queen's Pro-Vice Chancellor Rotha Johnston and Scottish Water chairman Ronnie Mercer.

Mr Kingon said it was "an exciting time" for the electricity business, now part of the Republic's state-owned company ESB.

"NIE has recently submitted its future investment plans to the Utility Regulator and they represent considerable capital spending on the network over the next five years," he said.

Harry McCracken, NIE managing director, said the new appointments would bring "a valuable range of experience to the company and complement the NIE management team".

Mr Kingon is chairman of renewable energy company Balcas, charitable business SOS Bus, and chair of the Northern Ireland Centre for Competitiveness.

On Tuesday it emerged that Mr Kingon, David Pritchard and Anne Maher would step down from the board of AIB at its next AGM as part of a major restructuring of the bank.

Mr Kingon announced last month he would be leaving his role as chairman of Invest NI, nine months before his tenure was due to end. He said he wanted to enable his yet-unnamed successor to oversee the agency's new corporate plan for 2011 to 2015.

ESB bought NIE from Viridian for £1.2bn at the end of last year. Viridian still owns NIE Energy Supply.

Mr Kingon is a member of the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board, a former managing partner of Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Northern Ireland, and is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland and of the Institute of Business and Management Consultants.

He is a past-president of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He is also past-chairman of Business in the Community in Northern Ireland, the Ulster Society of Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Management Consulting in Northern Ireland.

Mr Kingon announced his departure from the board of AIB after the bank revealed losses of over £9bn last week.

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