Jack Fusco was named chief executive and chairman of Cheniere Energy Monday, ending a leadership search that began after activist investor Carl Icahn ousted the company’s founder.
Fusco's installation as Cheniere’s new chief comes after a messy boardroom drama led to the December ouster of founder Charif Souki, who raced ahead of competitors to build plants that could cool natural gas into liquid form in order to export it.
Fusco will take the reins at Cheniere energy little more than two months after the first train at the Houston company’s massive liquefaction plant at Sabine Pass rumbled to life, generating both the lower 48’s first liquefied natural gas and significant cash for Cheniere.
“Our priorities will be focused on continued execution and completion of the LNG trains, both under construction and under development, and further commercialization of our LNG portfolio,” Fusco said.
Jack Fusco was most recently executive chairman of Calpine Corp. Under Fusco’s employment agreement with the company, he has agreed to purchase $10 million worth of Cheniere’s shares by the end of the year.
Cheniere's CEO and co-founder Charif Souki, left in December months after activist investor Carl Icahn boosted his stake in the company. Icahn and others questioned the ambitious growth track pursued under Souki.
Icahn's firm has a 13.9 percent stake in the company, making it Cheniere's largest shareholder, according to FactSet.
Cheniere Energy Inc., based in Houston, is the first company with government permission to export natural gas from the shores of the continental U.S.