Vining packing his bags and heading from Alpha Natural to Cline Group

Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR) announced Jan. 12 that President Paul Vining, a veteran coal marketer with a background at several major coal producers, will be resigning his position with the company effective Jan. 31 to accept a CEO position with a Cline Group affiliate that will be focused on the acquisition and operation of coal mines outside the United States.

Cline Group, founded by coal operator Chris Cline, is involved with Illinois Basin coal producer Foresight Energy and has also lately moved to buy the undeveloped Donkin deep coal mine in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Upon Vining’s departure, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Brian Sullivan, and newly appointed Executive Vice President, Mining Operations Keith Hainer, will take on expanded responsibilities within the company. Both Sullivan and Hainer will report directly to Alpha’s Chairman and CEO Kevin Crutchfield.   

“Paul has been an asset and leader for a number of coal companies throughout his career and the same was true at Alpha. We are grateful for Paul’s three and-a-half years of service and wish him success in his new international venture,” Crutchfield said.

A member of Alpha’s Management Committee since September 2012, Sullivan will continue in his current role, but with additional management responsibilities over Alpha’s expanding natural gas commercial enterprise and extensive land holdings.

Also joining the Management Committee, Hainer has been promoted to executive vice president, mining operations and will oversee operational management of Alpha’s 60 affiliated coal mines throughout Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Wyoming. Hainer’s most recent role at Alpha was senior vice president, operations excellence and idle mines for a key Alpha subsidiary, a position he has held since 2012. Previously, he served as vice president, asset engineering. Prior to joining Alpha in 2011, Hainer held a number of positions in engineering, electrical and maintenance with Massey Energy, which Alpha took over in June 2011.  

“Both Brian and Keith have deep experience with a proven track-record of success at Alpha, and we are confident they will be successful in their expanded roles,” Crutchfield said.  “As Alpha and the broader industry continue to navigate challenging market conditions, the infusion of talent from next-generation coal mining leaders like them will strongly guide our path forward and help us advance our business.”  

Alpha is one of the largest and most regionally diversified coal suppliers in the United States. With affiliate mining operations in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Wyoming, Alpha supplies metallurgical coal to the steel industry and thermal coal to generate power to customers on five continents.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.