Fortis post-Stan the man

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Fortis Properties rep says move of HQ not on the radar

It led off my story on the recently announced Fortis Properties sale with this, but figured it’s worth highlighting: Fortis reps say headquarters will continue in the new Fortis Place in St. John’s, despite the building’s sale to Slate Office REIT.

“Our parent company, Fortis Inc., is currently located at Fortis Place — the new building down off Springdale Street — and their plan is to stay there and continue to operate the headquarters from there,” said Nora Duke, Fortis Properties’ president and CEO, in an interview on the sale.

So, how long will that last? I’m genuinely asking.

Are we thinking Fortis HQ remains here in perpetuity?

Fortis Inc. has been parent company to Newfoundland Power since 1987. But growth of Fortis Inc. during the nearly 20-year leadership of Stan the man Marshall, ended December 2014, has been staggering.

More specifically, Fortis’s total assets grew from about $1 billion to $18.6 billion. And that growth was fed by acquisition of utilities in western Canada and then South, into the United States.

At the end of the day, it’s more customers and more management beyond yyt.

Now you might say the idea of moving Fortis HQ is nonsense or fear mongering, but consider what Marshall himself said, when tackling a 20 Questions feature interview roughly a year ago: “One thing I’m proud of is that we’ve kept Fortis here.”

He emphasized the benefits of having the central operations as a training ground for the next generation of business minds. But — it says there has been pressure to move.

The new president and CEO of Fortis, Barry Perry, lives in Mount Pearl, but is one of only two people on the 11-member board listed with “Newfoundland and Labrador” in their online profile information.

And subsidiary Fortis Properties has just announced a $430-million sale, including what was Fortis Properties’ brand spanking new, flagship property in downtown St. John’s.

There are still hotels to consider and it will be interesting to see what happens there, but if the main Fortis Inc. is really is focusing on growth its utility businesses, I can’t help but wonder about the future of HQ.

This is a blog post and I have no evidence of any move in the works.

But I think it’s a good idea to try to root out why Fortis Inc. is here. The answer might just be a gem of a lesson for The Rock in business retention.

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