* Ram board member Walter Higgins appointed interim CEO
* Company says CEO departure was a mutual decision
* CEO search could take three to six months
* Stock fell 20 pct last week
(Adds company, analyst comment. Updates stock price. In U.S.
dollars unless noted)
VANCOUVER, Feb 14 Ram Power Corp RPG.TO said
on Monday its president and chief executive, Hezy Ram, has
quit, knocking 23 percent off its stock, a week after the
geothermal company warned about a big project cost over-run.
His departure was a mutual decision of Hezy Ram and the
company he co-founded in 2008, which also bears his name, Ram
Power investor relations head Steven Scott said.
"As a company we owe our sharholders what we said we are
going to do, which is execute our projects. We have been
finding that we have had some setbacks and we need to ensure
that these setbacks don't carry forward," Scott said.
Walter Higgins, a Ram board member, has been appointed as
interim president and CEO while the company searches for a new
leader outside Ram, a process that could take three to six
months, Scott said.
Higgins is the retired chairman and CEO of Sierra Pacific
Resources, now called NV Energy, a Nevada electricity and gas
utility, Ram said in a statement.
Ram's stock ended down 23 percent, or off 36 Canadian
cents, at C$1.20 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The fall is on top of a 20 percent dive last week after the
company revealed that its flagship San Jacinto-Tizate project
in Nicaragua faced a delay of about three months and unexpected
extra costs of about $50 million due to higher labor and
material costs and disappointing drilling results.
"It is significant dollars over budget," said Jacobs
Securities analyst John McIlveen.
Hezy Ram, formerly a top executive at Ormat Technologies
Inc (ORA.N), one of the world's biggest geothermal energy
company, owns about 3 percent of the outstanding shares in Ram
Power, Scott said.
Geothermal energy is a renewable source of energy that
comes from hot water and steam produced deep inside the earth.
These are piped up to the surface and used to drive turbines to
(Reporting by Nicole Mordant; editing by Rob Wilson)