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National Fuel Gas Co. said Philip C. Ackerman has been elected president of the company. David F. Smith will succeed Ackerman as president of National Fuel Distribution Corp. Ackerman has been with the company since 1968, and Smith has been with National Fuel since 1978.

Columbia Energy Group named Brian J. Watt senior vice president of Columbia Energy Group Services Corp. and president of Columbia Energy Services. Columbia has been actively looking for a senior executive to manage all of its unregulated divisions since experiencing a $59 million loss last year because of increased retail customer acquisition costs, infrastructure investments, a sharp rise in wholesale marketing activities and a trading snafu. Watt previously was a consultant for Fortune 500 energy companies, president of a subsidiary of Joy Technologies and has managed a number of companies in the U.S. and overseas. He holds a doctorate of sciences degree from MIT.

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