Plug Power hands reins to new CEO

Hydrogen fuel cell manufacturer Plug Power hired a new president and CEO on Monday.

Hydrogen fuel cell manufacturer Plug Power hired a new president and CEO on Monday.

Andy Marsh, the former CEO and co-founder of power systems company Valere Power, is set to begin work today as the successor to Roger Saillant, who served as Plug’s CEO from 2001 until he retired Monday, his 65th birthday.

Saillant said his tenure as Plug chief was focused on developing hydrogen fuel cell technology into a commercially viable product. He said Marsh will be tasked with expanding sales revenue from Plug’s fuel cell systems.

“I think he’s faced with the standard challenges, and that’s accelerating our company toward profitability,” Saillant said. “[Marsh] brings with him experience and insight, particularly in the wireless communications area because of his track record. He ought to be able to use his experience to put this company squarely in front of the customers in ways that will lead to commercial sales and volume.”

Marsh’s resume gives him a combined 25 years of experience with the telecommunications sector, the major market for Plug Power’s GenCore backup power system.

According to information released by Plug Power, Marsh, 52, led Valere Power from 2001 until 2007, during which the company grew to 200 employees and had $90 million in annual revenues from selling its DC power products to the telecommunications sector. Prior to founding Valere, Marsh reportedly spent almost 18 years with Lucent Bell laboratories, where he held a variety of sales and technical management positions.

“We are very impressed with Andy’s record of success and results-oriented leadership. He’s demonstrated the ability to bring products to market, develop customer bases and grow revenues,” Plug Power Board of Directors Chairman George McNamee said.

Marsh was chosen from a final pair of candidates interviewed by Plug’s board of directors last week. He signed his contract Monday, although details of the deal have not yet been released.

Company officials said Marsh also serves on the board of directors of Power Distribution, a privately held company in Richmond, Va. He and his wife, Kathy Mattes, who is an alumna of the University at Albany, will relocate to the Capital Region.

Plug Power has scheduled a conference call for 10 a.m. today to introduce investors to Marsh.

Plug Power’s stock rose 3 cents Monday to close at $3.58 per share.

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