Quanta CEO Jim O’Neil steps down, board names Earl Austin as successor

Jim O’Neil, president and CEO of Quanta Services Inc. (NYSE:PWR), stepped down from his role as part of Quanta’s ongoing leadership succession planning and will be replaced by Earl “Duke” Austin, Quanta said March 14.

O’Neil, who has been president and CEO for the last five years and been with the company for 17 years, also resigned from the board of directors and the board appointed Austin to fill that position, Quanta said in a statement.

Austin, currently the chief operating officer at Quanta, will retain the COO title in addition to being president and CEO, the company said.

“I am honored to have been part of the Quanta family and feel privileged to have served as the company’s CEO,” O’Neil said in the statement.

 “Duke is a leader with deep knowledge and experience about all aspects of our business and having worked with him for 15 years, I am confident he is the right leader at the right time to lead Quanta forward,” O’Neil said.

"On behalf of the board, I want to thank Jim for his many contributions to Quanta over his distinguished 17-year career with the company, including the last five years as president and CEO,” said Bruce Ranck, independent chairman of the board.

“As CEO, Jim oversaw significant, profitable growth and was critical in developing and implementing Quanta’s long-term strategic initiatives and setting the stage for the company’s next phase of growth,” Ranck said.

O’Neil will remain available to Austin and the company as part of the planned succession, Quanta said.

"Jim and the board believe that Duke Austin is uniquely suited to lead Quanta forward. Since joining Quanta in 2001, Duke has been an important part of our success, taking on increasingly larger roles in our organization, and has been a key architect of our current growth strategy,” Ranck said in the statement.

"I am humbled by the trust and confidence that Jim and the board are placing in me with this appointment. I am fortunate to transition into the CEO role at Quanta following Jim’s strong direction over the past five years,” Austin said.

“We have many opportunities to enhance Quanta’s leadership position in the industry and to continue to profitably grow our business. As we do, we will remain committed to driving long-term value for our employees, customers and stockholders,” he said.

As part of the company’s most recent earnings report in February, Quanta officials said fewer large transmission projects under construction and delays on some projects have hurt earnings, along with low oil and natural gas prices that have affected pipeline work.