Cheniere Energy names Jack Fusco as CEO

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Cheniere Energy has named Jack Fusco as CEO after the natural gas company’s previous CEO was forced out under pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn.

Fusco was most recently executive chairman of Calpine Corp., which generates electricity from natural gas. He was CEO of the Houston company from 2008 to 2014.

Cheniere’s CEO and co-founder Charif Souki, left in December months after 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 per cent stake in the company, making it Cheniere’s largest shareholder, according to FactSet.

Cheniere, also based in Houston, is the first company with government permission to export natural gas from the shores of the continental U.S.

As part of Fusco’s employment agreement, he will purchase $10 million worth of Cheniere’s common shares by the end of the year.

Before Calpine, Fusco worked at Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Goldman Sachs and Orion Power Holdings.

Shares of Cheniere Energy Inc. rose $1.97, or 6 per cent, to $34.69 in morning trading Thursday. Its stock is down about 57 per cent in the past 12 months.