The board of directors of NUI Corp. has brought in former KeySpan executive Craig G. Matthews as NUI’s new president and CEO to lead the sale of the company. NUI stunned the financial community last September by announcing that it would sell its entire integrated natural gas business because of credit downgrades and “adverse business conditions.”

Last fall, CFO A. Mark Abramovic, who took over the company following the resignation of John Kean Jr. as CEO, said the board of directors of the New Jersey-based utility considered a sale in the best interests of all stakeholders going forward.

Matthews will be responsible for overseeing the sale process, including negotiating a definitive agreement with a final party and securing shareholder and multi-state regulatory approvals, the company said Wednesday. The board also announced that it has appointed Steven D. Overly as NUI’s vice president, general counsel and secretary.

“Craig Matthews played a key role in two major mergers and acquisitions while at KeySpan Energy,” said Kean, NUI Chairman. “He brings tremendous insight and experience in negotiating and completing merger and acquisition transactions. Craig’s hiring further supports our goal of reaching a definitive agreement to sell NUI by the end of the first quarter of calendar 2004 or early in the second quarter, and he will continue the work that is already underway toward that objective.”

Matthews said that NUI has made significant progress in selling off non-core operations and that its remaining businesses have generated “a great deal of interest by potential buyers. I look forward to working with the company’s employees, the various regulatory commissions and the prospective purchaser toward a swift and successful completion of the sale process.”

Matthews was executive vice president and CFO when KeySpan merged with the Long Island Lighting Co. to form KeySpan Energy in 1998. He was vice chairman and COO when the company purchased Eastern Enterprises in 2000, a union that included Eastern Enterprises’ ongoing merger with Energy North.

Matthews also will oversee NUI’s continued exit from its non-regulated business activities and ongoing discussions with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) on a settlement of the focused audit the NJBPU ordered of NUI, NUI Utilities and Elizabethtown Gas Co.

Overly also has a background in mergers and acquisitions. He played an instrumental role in four acquisitions as a senior vice president at Cirrus Logic Inc. and was strategically involved in mergers and acquisitions while CEO of International Wireless Communications Holdings Corp. and general counsel at Lockheed Martin Telecommunications.

©Copyright 2004 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.