Manitoba Hydro board chairman retiring
Victor Schroeder retires next week after 12 years at utility
Manitoba Hydro is undergoing some major changes at the top, with Victor Schroeder retiring as the public power utility's chairman days after Bob Brennan retires as its chief executive.
After 12 years as chair of the Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board, Schroeder is retiring next Monday, just three days before his 68th birthday.
Brennan's last day as Manitoba Hydro's president and chief executive officer — a position he has held since 1990 — will be on Friday.
Scott Thomson takes over as the new president and CEO on Monday.
Schroeder told CBC News that since the board has chosen a new CEO to lead the Crown corporation, it's now time for him to retire.
The Manitoba government will likely name his replacement in the next few days, he added.
Schroeder said one of the things he is most proud of is Manitoba Hydro's improved relationship with First Nations, noting that aboriginal employment levels have more than doubled what they were in the past.
"About 16 per cent of our permanent employees are aboriginal," Schroeder said in an interview.
"If every corporation, public and private, in this province were to follow that example, we would have just a tremendous economic boom."
Served as cabinet minister in '80s
Schroeder said Manitoba Hydro has never been in stronger financial health as it is now, but he expressed frustration with the Public Utilities Board.
The provincial government approves the utility's capital expenditures, "yet the regulator has chosen to use its rate-making power to effectively attempt to interfere with that," he said.
"That's happened, I think, a little bit too much."
A former provincial politician, Schroeder served as a cabinet minister in Howard Pawley's NDP government throughout the 1980s.
Schroeder was the NDP MLA for Rossmere from 1979 to 1988 and held a number of cabinet portfolios during that time, including finance, labour, industry and justice.
He even served as energy minister and the minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro in 1986, according to the legislative assembly's website.
As for the current NDP government, Schroeder said, "I certainly believe that it would be appropriate for the government of Manitoba to enunciate a very clear energy policy which makes it clear — renewable energy is the way we go."