After 12 years in the position, Mary Powell, president and CEO of Green Mountain Power, will be retiring at the end of the year to be succeeded by Senior Vice President Mari McClure.
In a press release, Powell said that “after 12 years as president and CEO, and over 20 years at GMP (Green Mountain Power), it is time to turn over the reins to a new leader.”
“For my part, I plan to continue the fight against climate change in Vermont and across the country. I care deeply about our customers and this state, and am so proud of the progress we have made to operate efficiently, deliver innovations and act quickly to address the climate crisis,” Powell said.
Powell said there were things she wants to do and projects she would like to tackle, including at the national level, but said she expects to continue living in the Green Mountain State.
“I love Vermont. I’m committed to Vermont,” she said.
However, Green Mountain Power has attracted national interest for the work it’s done as a utility, including a promise to have 100% carbon-free energy by 2025 and 100% renewable energy by 2030, which has created other opportunities.
“I’ve worked a lot on the climate crisis and the intersection between how transforming businesses can relate to the climate crisis, so I have folks that are interested in working with me on a project basis and other things,” she said.
GMP officials have been working on several projects to encourage the use of renewable energy resources, and Powell said those initiatives will continue under McClure. Powell said those projects have “the full support, enthusiasm and passion of the entire Green Mountain Power team, none more so than Mari McClure.”
McClure has been with GMP since 2010. Prior to joining the utility, McClure was an attorney at Vermont’s largest law firm, Downs Rachlin Martin, which has Vermont offices in Burlington, Montpelier, Brattleboro and St. Johnsbury. She played basketball at the University of Buffalo, where she served as captain of the team for two seasons, and was a Division I basketball coach at Colgate University.
McClure said it was an honor to be chosen to lead GMP, and said she looks forward to the future of energy in Vermont. She said she believes her history in the law and athletics would be useful at GMP.
“I’ll be very, very focused on continuing to lead our teams through a very team-oriented structure and framework. I think it’ll be important for us to have clear goals for how to tackle these challenges ahead, and they’re big challenges,” she said.
McClure said she expects to be inspired by what she learned from watching Powell lead GMP when she takes over as president and CEO, which is scheduled to happen on Jan. 1.
According to Powell, she and the board of directors at GMP have been working for the last year on finding the right leader so Powell could feel comfortable making the transition.
“From my perch, when (McClure) was ready, I was ready,” Powell said.
Powell is from New York City but said she came to Vermont in 1989 to benefit from the quality of life in the state. She worked for the state under Govs. Madeleine Kunin, Dick Snelling and Howard Dean.
“Then I worked in banking in Vermont. I launched a couple of businesses and then eventually found my way to Green Mountain Power,” she said.
Powell said there was no particular reason she was moving on now except that she had been with GMP for more than 20 years.
“I have a lot of drive, a lot of energy and interest in bringing that drive and energy to some other things,” she said.
Powell said she believes GMP will continue to move forward with new initiatives after she leaves.
“The biggest challenge and opportunity facing Green Mountain Power is the same one that will be facing every utility in the country. The energy landscape is transforming and people are moving rapidly to self-supply and other changes. At the same time, we have a climate crisis and we need to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. So innovate, innovate, innovate. Continue to innovate. That’s what I expect Green Mountain Power to do,” she said.