New Jersey Resources announced Friday its chairman and CEO, Laurence M. Downes, is retiring.
Downes said he will retire on Sept. 30 after spending 34 years with the company and 24 at the helm. NJR also announced Steve Westhoven will be succeeding Downes and will take over as CEO and president on Oct. 1.
The Wall-based energy provider, also the parent company of New Jersey Natural Gas, said Downes will continue to serve as chairman of the board until the company’s annual shareholder meeting.
Downes joined NJR in 1985 and was named treasurer in 1986, followed by vice president and treasurer in 1988. He was then promoted to senior vice president and chief financial officer in 1990 and executive vice president of NJNG in 1994. Downes was the named CEO, president and chairman of NJR’s board of directors in 1996.
“It has been a privilege to be a part of the New Jersey Resources family for more than three decades,” Downes said. “I’m grateful to the women and men of our company, past and present, who have made us the organization we are today. Their hard work has earned us 13 J.D. Power Awards — more than any other utility in New Jersey; significantly improved the performance of our delivery system; increased the value of our company more than tenfold and helped over 1,800 community service organizations annually across New Jersey. I know our team will continue to deliver on our commitment to our stakeholders for many years to come.”
Westhoven joined the company in 1990 and was named vice president of NJR Energy Services in 2004 and senior vice president in 2010. He was then promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2017, followed by president and chief operating officer in 2018.
“Larry’s outstanding leadership has driven strong performance at New Jersey Resources for more than three decades. His passion for customers, employees and the communities we serve has delivered consistent results. On behalf of the Board, we sincerely thank Larry for his contributions over the years.” said Donald L. Correll, lead director of NJR’s board. “The board is confident, under Steve’s leadership, we will continue to grow our business, serve our customers and communities, support our employees and deliver performance for our investors.”
Downes also served as chairman of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority board until resigning earlier this year.