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NorthWestern Announces Leadership Changes

Date: Feb 9, 2021

TYPE: News

Category: Investors

Brian Bird to become company’s president and chief operating officer; Bob Rowe to remain chief executive officer; Crystal Lail to become chief financial officer; Jeanne Vold to become vice president – technology. Dana Dykhouse to become Board Chair following retirement of Stephen Adik and Julia Johnson after the 2021 annual meeting of shareholders.

BUTTE, MT / SIOUX FALLS, SD – February 9 2021 - Bob Rowe, president and chief executive officer of NorthWestern Corporation d/b/a NorthWestern Energy (Nasdaq: NWE) today announced a number of key executive and board changes. “Today’s announcement is part of deliberate succession planning that reflects a strong company, building on its successes with its eyes toward the future,” said Rowe. The executive leadership changes will be effective February 15, 2021, and the board retirements will be effective following the company’s 2021 annual meeting of shareholders, currently scheduled for April 22, 2021.

Brian Bird to become president and chief operating officer

The board of directors approved the promotion of Brian Bird to president and chief operating officer. Rowe will remain as chief executive officer.

As president and chief operating officer, Bird will oversee NorthWestern Energy’s operations, including electric and natural gas transmission and distribution, energy supply, customer care, and technology. He will continue to report to Rowe.

“Brian has been a key NorthWestern Energy leader over the past 17 years and played an instrumental role in guiding the company to today’s solid financial footing,” said Rowe. “He is a respected industry financial leader, with an excellent understanding of our operations as well. This makes him perfect for his new role as president and chief operating officer.”

Crystal Lail to become chief financial officer

The board of directors also approved Crystal Lail as the company’s chief financial officer. Lail most recently served as the company’s chief accounting officer and, prior to that, vice president and controller. She will report directly to Rowe and will oversee the company’s accounting, treasury, financial planning, tax, and investor relations functions. Jeff Berzina, NorthWestern Energy’s controller since April 2020, has assumed responsibility for the company’s accounting and financial reporting functions and will continue to report to Lail. “Crystal has been a cornerstone of our accounting and financial reporting function for many years,” said Rowe. “Her leadership there and the company-wide understanding she gained in that role will prove beneficial as she ascends to the chief financial officer role for NorthWestern.”

Jeanne Vold to become vice president – technology

The board of directors also approved Jeanne Vold as vice president – technology. Vold, as vice president – technology, will join NorthWestern Energy’s executive team, reflecting the ever-increasing importance of technology to the company’s business. Vold previously served as business technology officer and has led the company’s technology strategies for the past eight years. She will continue to report to Bird.

Stephen Adik and Julia Johnson to retire from Board; Dana Dykhouse to become chair; effective at close of annual stockholders’ meeting

In addition to these appointments, Stephen Adik and Julia Johnson each recently notified the company of their intent to retire from the company's board of directors, effective as of the election of directors at the Company's next annual meeting of shareholders currently scheduled for April 22, 2021. Adik and Johnson each have served on the board of directors for more than 15 years.

The board of directors has selected Dana Dykhouse, chief executive officer of First PREMIER Bank, to succeed Adik as the non-executive board chair; and, Jeffrey Yingling to succeed Johnson as chair of the board’s nominating and governance committee. Mahvash Yazdi will succeed Dykhouse as the chair of the board’s human resources committee. Linda Sullivan will continue as chair of the audit committee, and Jan Horsfall will remain chair of the safety, environmental, technology, and operations committee.

Following the two retirement announcements, Rowe said, "Steve Adik and Julia Johnson have been invaluable board members. Their distinguished careers, experience, and stature within the utility industry have been significant factors in our success, beginning with the company’s emergence from bankruptcy in 2004 and continuing today. We will miss their presence and leadership on our board. I look forward to their friendship and advice for many years to come. We are fortunate to have another experienced leader, Dana Dykhouse, to take over the reins as independent board chair. Dana has been an outstanding human resources committee chair. He has been active in all aspects of the board's duties. He's a respected leader and brings first-hand knowledge of our service territory to guide our board through its next chapter."

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About NorthWestern Energy (Nasdaq: NWE)
NorthWestern provides electricity and / or natural gas to approximately 743,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska. We have generated and distributed electricity in South Dakota and distributed natural gas in South Dakota and Nebraska since 1923 and have generated and distributed electricity and distributed natural gas in Montana since 2002. More information on NorthWestern is available on the company’s website at

Media Contacts:
Jo Dee Black