Meyer out as president of Alaska Gasline Development Corp.
Keith Meyer is out as the president of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.
Meyer was dismissed from his position on Thursday and replaced on an interim basis by Joe Dubler, who is currently the executive vice president of finance and administration for the Cook Inlet Housing Authority.
Dubler worked for AGDC as vice president of commercial operations under former President Dan Fauske, who resigned from the position at former Gov. Bill Walker’s request in November 2015 after the Legislature approved a buy out of TransCanada Corp.’s interest in the $43 billion Alaska LNG Project.
Continuing the shakeup, Doug Smith, who was appointed to the board by Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy on Monday, was voted the new chair of the board of directors and Dan Coffey, also appointed Monday, was named vice chair.
Smith replaces Dave Cruz as chair. Cruz has served on the board of AGDC for the past three administrations after first being appointed by former Gov. Sean Parnell.
Meyer has led AGDC since June 15, 2016.
The Alaska LNG Project is nearing a milestone with the scheduled release of a draft environmental impact statement scheduled to be released next month. A joint development agreement with three large nationalized Chinese companies to invest in up to 75 percent of the project was signed in November 2017 but a recent Dec. 31 deadline to formalize commercial agreements was extended for six months.
Laborers’ Local 341 union leader Joey Merrick, one of the board members replaced Monday, thanked AGDC staff for their hard work during the public comment portion of Thursday’s board of directors meeting and encouraged the new members to continue the work that has been done.
“We’re close to having some customers, which is the key to this project,” Merrick said.
Smith thanked Cruz for staying with AGDC, calling him “an integral part of this board,” during the meeting. He also said in a talk with reporters following the meeting that the leadership changes do not signal a change in course for the state-owned corporation.
“We’re not looking to derail any progress,” Smith said, emphasizing that he wants that message relayed to those interested in participating in the project with the state.
He declined to elaborate on why Meyer was let go, calling it a “personnel matter.”
AGDC officials said during an update on the Alaska LNG Project that they are in active negotiations with six potential LNG buyers.
Meyer had previously stressed 2019 would be the year AGDC would begin courting potential Alaska LNG investors with an “equity road show” in addition to continuing regulatory work and securing customers.
Dunleavy was regularly critical of the state-led Alaska LNG Project structure during his time in the state Senate and while campaigning for governor, stressing that the private sector needs to play a larger role in the project, as was first envisioned.
The state took over the lead role on the project in 2016 after the major producers partnered on the project wanted to slow the pace down as LNG prices collapsed along with oil.
Officials in the governor’s office avoided answering questions as to why Meyer was terminated.
AGDC External Affairs Vice President Tim Fitzpatrick said Dubler would not be available for comment Thursday.
Meyer joined AGDC from LNG America, a Houston-based energy logistics firm he founded in 2008 that focuses on increasing the use of LNG as a fuel for the maritime and transportation industries, according to an AGDC release.
He was paid a base salary of $550,000 per year, making him the highest-paid state employee, and the board of directors voted last month to award him two years of performance bonuses totaling $296,000.
Dubler will officially start at AGDC Feb. 1 with a base salary of $350,000 and will not be offered pay bonuses, according to state officials.
Walker also shook up the board of directors at AGDC soon after taking office, firing two board members a month after taking office in January 2015, and replacing Fauske later that year.
Editor's note: This story has been updated from the original with additional reporting. Look for updates to this story in an upcoming issue of the Journal.