SIOUX FALLS, S.D., April 7, 2003 — NorthWestern Corp. announced that William M. Austin has been named to the newly created position of Chief Restructuring Officer. The appointment is effective immediately and Austin reports to Gary G. Drook, Chief Executive Officer of NorthWestern.
In his new role, Austin will spearhead the implementation of key initiatives designed to enhance the operational and financial performance of the Company’s regulated utility and nonregulated businesses. Austin’s responsibilities include optimizing the use of ongoing cash flows, identifying and executing on opportunities to generate cash from nonstrategic assets, and reducing costs. Austin will also oversee the Company’s ongoing assessment of various operational and strategic alternatives.
“We are delighted to welcome Bill to our executive team,” said Drook. “Bill’s extensive financial and operational experience combined with his knowledge of the energy and telecommunications industries will be integral to leading our turnaround initiatives.”
Austin added, “I look forward to working with Gary and the management team to realize NorthWestern’s turnaround plan objectives and ensure the Company’s long-term financial health and stability.”
During his career, Austin has held several senior-level management positions in the energy, technology and communications sectors. Most recently, Austin served as Chief Executive Officer of Cable & Wireless/Exodus Communications US. He also served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Exodus and led the company through a successful restructuring. Prior to joining C & W US, Austin was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of BMC Software and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of MD Aerospace for the McDonnell Douglas Corporation.
Austin began his career in finance with Bankers Trust Company where he rose to Managing Director, Acquisition and Structured Finance. For the majority of his tenure at Bankers Trust, Austin was Managing Director of the company’s Southwest Energy Division, which handled several transactions involving regulated natural gas pipelines and other energy operations.
Austin graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering from Brown University, and holds an MS in Computer Science from Stevens Institute as well as an MBA from Columbia University.
NorthWestern Corporation is one of the largest providers of electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving more than 595,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. NorthWestern also has investments in Expanets, Inc., one of the largest providers of converged communications solutions to mid-sized businesses; and Blue Dot Services Inc., a provider of heating, ventilation and air conditioning services to residential and commercial customers.