The chief executive at one of the region's largest banks has been recommended by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to join - and lead - the New York Power Authority board of trustees.
John Koelmel, president and CEO of First Niagara Financial Group Inc. (NASDAQ: FNFG), was nominated May 1. He is also in line to become chairman of the board, succeeding current NYPA Chairman Michael Townsend of Monroe County, who joined the seven-member board in 2004 and became chair in 2009.
Koelmel's appointment is subject to approval by the state Senate.
NYPA is the country's largest state public power organization. It operates 17 generating facilities in New York state, including the Niagara Power Project in Lewiston, and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.
Koelmel has led First Niagara through major expansion in recent years. The parent of First Niagara Bank, formerly Lockport Savings Bank, now operates in four states - New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts - and plans to grow even larger this month when it closes its $1 billion acquisition of HSBC Bank USA N.A.'s Upstate New York retail network.
Koelmel joined First Niagara in 2004 as executive vice president and chief financial officer. He became president and CEO in 2006. Previously, he worked in the accounting industry as managing partner of KPMG LLP's Buffalo office and the firm's Upstate New York Business Unit.
In 2010, he became chair of Kaleida Health board of trustees. He has been a member of the board since 2007.