(Bloomberg) — Sophie Brochu is stepping down as chief executive officer of Hydro-Quebec, less than three months after the provincial government set up a “super ministry” for economic and energy issues that oversees the utility.
Brochu, one of Canada’s most prominent female business executives, will leave on April 11 after three years in the job, the company said Tuesday. “Sophie’s contribution — marked by her human approach, strong communication skills and vast experience in the energy sector — will stand the test of time,” Chair Jacynthe Côté said in a statement.
Tensions had been building between Brochu and the government of Premier Francois Legault over how to deploy Quebec’s vast renewable-power capacity as a lure for industrial development in the province of 8.8 million people. Brochu had said in media interviews that she was concerned about putting too much pressure on energy supply.
“I spoke with Sophie Brochu and we share the same goal, to ensure that Hydro-Quebec evolves in an orderly fashion for the benefit of all Quebeckers,” Legault said in October after appointing Pierre Fitzgibbon to an expanded role as minister of economy, innovation and energy.
In Tuesday’s statement, Brochu made no reference to disagreement with the government.
“I joined Hydro-Quebec in April 2020, when Quebec was in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said. “The economic situation was worrisome and I felt compelled to step forward, humbly believing that I could be of service as Quebec navigated through the turbulence. Today, the worst of the pandemic is behind us and Hydro-Quebec is in a strong position.”
Hydro-Quebec didn’t name a successor. The CEO will be chosen by Legault’s cabinet.
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