Westmoreland Coal (NasdaqGM: WLB) on Nov. 12 announced that Kevin A. Paprzycki will move to Chief Executive Officer and become a member of the Board of Directors effective Dec. 1, one month earlier than previously announced.
Concurrently, Keith E. Alessi, Chief Executive Officer, will transition from his position as CEO and a member of the Board of Directors to the strategic role of CEO-Emeritus.
On Nov. 6, Alessi was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He will immediately commence a temporary medical leave of absence to aggressively pursue treatment. “I intend to fight and defeat this disease and expect to fully recover and return to my duties as CEO-Emeritus as soon as possible,” said Alessi.
The previously announced promotions of John Schadan to President and Chief Operating Officer and Jason Veenstra to Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer will accelerate to Dec. 1, as well.
“Since 2007, I have had the privilege to work with Keith as he designed and executed the remarkable turnaround of Westmoreland,” stated Dick Klingaman, Chairman of the Board. “As part of that effort, Keith identified, assembled, and coached an executive team that is experienced, smart and energetic. I am confident that Kevin, our CEO-designate who has served with Keith since 2007, will provide effective leadership as we continue to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and delever the business.”
“Speaking on behalf of the entire company, we wish Keith a fast recovery and look forward to his return as a strategic partner,” said Paprzycki. “Keith has been an exceptional leader for Westmoreland and we are grateful for his nine years of tireless efforts and personal sacrifices. As he undergoes treatment, Keith and his family have the full support of the over 3,000 Westmoreland employees.”
Westmoreland Coal is the oldest independent coal company in the United States. Westmoreland’s coal operations include sub-bituminous and lignite surface coal mining in the Western United States and Canada, an underground bituminous coal mine in Ohio, a char production facility, and a 50% interest in an activated carbon plant. Westmoreland also owns the general partner of and a majority interest in Westmoreland Resource Partners LP, formerly Oxford Resource Partners LP, a publicly-traded coal master limited partnership. Its power operations include ownership of the two-unit ROVA coal-fired power plant in North Carolina.
Westmoreland Coal is also working on a purchase from international miner BHP Billiton of the San Juan coal mine operation in New Mexico, which is the captive coal supplier to the adjacent San Juan power plant.