September 29, 2017

CT Water CFO to replace outgoing CEO

Contributed photo
Contributed photo
CT Water CEO Eric Thornburg
Connecticut Water Service
David C. Benoit
Connecticut Water Service
Carol P. Wallace

Clinton-based Connecticut Water Service CEO Eric W. Thornburg has resigned to take a position with a large water system in California, and an interim leader has replaced him, effective immediately, the utilities said.

Eric W. Thornburg stepped down as chairman, president and CEO on Thursday. On Friday, SJW Group of San Jose announced Thornburg as its new president and CEO, replacing W. Richard Roth, who is retiring.

SJW Group is a publicly traded holding company and the parent of San Jose Water Company, SJWTX, Inc., Texas Water Alliance Limited, and SJW Land Company, which provide water service to more than one million people in San Jose and in Canyon Lake, Texas and their nearby communities.

David C. Benoit, the Connecticut utility's senior vice president and CFO, is stepping up as interim president and CEO of CT Water and subsidiaries in Connecticut and Maine. Richard Knowlton remains president of Maine operations, the board said.

Carol P. Wallace, who has served on the Connecticut utility board since 2003, has been elected to serve as board chair. Wallace welcomed Benoit to his new role as the board continues to assess its long-term leadership strategy, and thanked Thornburg for his service.

Under Thornburg, the utility grew more than 45 percent since 2012, including two acquisitions completed this year, Wallace said. The utility purchased the Avon Water Co. in July and the Heritage Village Water Co. in Southbury in February.

Benoit, the CFO for the past 21 years, is a certified public accountant with an MBA from the University of Hartford. He has more than 30 years experience with regulated utility companies, Wallace said.

"David has been the architect of our financial success over the past two decades and we are thrilled that he has agreed to step into this leadership role for the organization," Wallace said.

Thornburg will remain with CT Water through Oct. 15, working with Benoit and Wallace on the transition.

The utility's water subsidiaries serve more than 134,000 customers in Connecticut and Maine, or about 425,000 people, in addition to more than 3,000 wastewater customers in Southbury.

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