'I have confidence in Stan Marshall': Dwight Ball stands by his man

Dwight Ball says he believes Stan Marshall is the right man for the top job at Nalcor Energy, despite criticism from former premier Danny Williams.

Premier defends Nalcor boss after slagging by Danny Williams

Stan Marshall is the right man for the job of running the Muskrat Falls project, according to Premier Dwight Ball. (CBC)

The chief executive at Nalcor Energy is in the cross-hairs of former premier Danny Williams, but the man who appointed Stan Marshall to the job has a different opinion.

"I have confidence in Stan Marshall. That's why I put him there," Dwight Ball said in a scrum with reporters on Friday. "He has the experience to do this work. He has done a great job of managing it [the Muskrat Falls project.]"

Ball said Marshall has the credentials to run the megaproject and said he has made the tough decision making look simple.

"My job right now as premier is to manage this, to mitigate the rate increases at the Muskrat Falls project ... and I will do that in a partnership with Stan Marshall," Ball said.

Ball was not asked specifically about whether Marshall is in a conflict of interest because of shares he holds in Fortis, the parent company of Newfoundland Power, an allegation Williams made Thursday during a speech to the St. John's Board of Trade.

Williams also accused Marshall of undermining Nalcor by agreeing when asked if the Muskrat Falls project was a "boondoggle," and criticizing the terms of the arrangement with chief contractor Astaldi.

"Not only have his statements done terrible damage to the reputation of the company and indeed our province, it's also common knowledge that this CEO is in a very serious conflict of interest with respect to his share holdings in other public companies," Williams said.

Marshall not interested in responding

Nalcor Energy, in a statement to CBC News Friday afternoon, rejected the allegation. 

"The most important factor here is that it has been determined that Mr. Marshall is not in a conflict of interest," Nalcor spokesperson Deanne Fisher said. 

"Mr. Marshall would recuse himself from any ongoing or future activities regarding decisions which could have a perceived conflict of interest."

As well, Nalcor said the the Department of Justice and Public Safety found that Marshall's "current ownership of shares in private corporations does not constitute a conflict of interest."

Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady wrote Marshall after his appointment and told him to recuse himself from any decision-making that involves Fortis or Newfoundland Power.

Mashall was out of the province Friday, but didn't want to talk about the issues raised by Williams.

"Mr. Marshall is not interested in responding to any of the other comments raised," Fisher said.

With files from Gary Moore and Peter Cowan