New Origin CEO focuses on cutting down debt

Origin Energy has appointed Frank Calabria as CEO to replace Grant King who retires next month.

Mr Calabria, who first joined Origin in 2001 as chief financial officer and was appointed head of the company’s energy markets division in 2009, said he’ll focus on paying down a $9 billion debt pile and consider more asset sales.

“We set a target and I would be very disappointed if we don’t get well below that by June 2017”, he said, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Clearly we want to accelerate debt reduction.”

The appointment will take effect from the Annual General Meeting on October 19, when Mr King steps down.

Chairman of Origin Energy Gordon Cairns recognisned Mr King’s contribution to Origin Energy since his appointment as CEO in 2000.

“I want to acknowledge that’s he’s been a wonderful leader of Origin. His vision and acumen built Origin into a major Australian company. We will miss him, but we thank him for all he has achieved and all he has done for the Company. We also wish him, Jenny and his family every good wish for the future,” Mr Cairns said.

Mr Calabria joined Origin as chief financial officer in 2001 and was appointed CEO of the Energy Markets business in 2009. During that time Mr Calibria led improved the division’s earnings and position in the market.

Mr Calbria said he was honoured to take on the leadership of Origin.

“This is an important Australian company with a strong future. The issues are clear: cut debt and improve performance. This twin focus will improve returns for shareholders and position us to drive medium term growth in a rapidly changing energy market, while delivering on the potential for the major investment that has been made in APLNG.”

Mr Calabria has a Bachelor of Economics from Macquarie University and a Master of Business Administration from the Australian Graduate School of Management. He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia.