Kessel: “It’s the right time for me to be leaving”

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Almost a full 24 hours after its president and CEO was stepping down, the New York Power Authority put out a press release announcing his resignation.

Richard Kessel, who had headed NYPA since September 2008, resigned at the utility’s board meeting in White Plains yesterday. In a statement today, Kessel said it was “the right time for me to be leaving” and said he’s “comfortable with his decision.”

“I’m leaving the New York Power Authority with a sense of accomplishment for the wide ranging measures we undertook over the last few years for spurring economic development around the state, particularly in Western and Northern New York where our large hydroelectric projects are located,” Kessel said. “It’s been my distinct pleasure working with Governors Paterson and Cuomo and carrying out their energy and economic development policies.”

NYPA is under investigation by state Inspector General Ellen Biben for contributions to non-profits made with authority funds under Kessel’s watch. A Biben spokesman said yesterday that the investigation is ongoing, declining further comment.

Michael Townsend, chairman of NYPA, thanked Kessel in a statement.

“We greatly appreciate the considerable efforts of Richard Kessel in leading NYPA during tough economic times in New York State and the country,” Townsend said. “He has been a strong advocate for New York and contributed greatly to the important role the Power Authority plays in providing clean, economical and reliable power for the people of our state.”

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