Westar Energy Names CEO Replacement
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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Westar Energy, Inc., the state’s largest electric company, named a replacement Saturday for its chief executive who resigned last week under federal indictment for fraud and money laundering.
New president and chief executive Jim Haines, 56, takes over Westar beginning Dec. 9. Terms of his compensation package were not immediately available.
Haines replaces David Wittig, who resigned Friday. Wittig and Clinton Odell Weidner II, the former president of the Capital City Bank, are accused of hiding the purpose behind a $1.5 million loan from the bank to Wittig last year.
Wittig has pleaded innocent to charges including conspiracy, money laundering and filing misleading loan documents with the bank.
The indictment said Weidner helped Wittig increase his credit limit at the bank from $3.5 million to $5 million. The indictment said Wittig instead gave Weidner the extra money so that he could buy into a Scottsdale, Ariz., real estate development, which was not stated in the loan application.
Haines was Westar’s chief operating officer until 1996, when he left to become El Paso Electric’s president and CEO. He retired from El Paso in November 2001.
``The company has great potential to successfully resolve some very difficult problems to the benefit of customers, employees and investors,″ Haines said in a letter to the board.
Westar is the state’s largest electric utility, providing service to about 647,000 Kansas customers. Nothing in the indictment suggests a connection between Wittig’s activity at the bank and Westar.