Changes on NRG board after shareholder deal

The chairman of NRG Energy’s board, Howard Cosgrove, has retired after pressure from shareholders to gain spots on the Houston-based company’s board.

Cosgrove has been replaced by Lawrence Coben, the company’s director, and two spots on the board have gone to C. John Wilder, the head of Dallas-based Bluescape Energy Partners, and Barry Smitherman, a former chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas and a former Railroad commissioner. Smitherman is being considered as the new chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

On Monday, NRG said it had approved a deal between Bluescape and New York hedge fund Elliott Associates to combine shares in an attempt to get a spot on the board, a deal that the companies announced in January.

Bluescape and Elliott lobbied for a spot on NRG’s board with changes in mind, analysts have said, which might include spinning off subsidiary GenOn, or making changes to NRG’s fleet.

Wilder was formerly the head of Dallas utility TXU, and oversaw the company’s privatization nearly a decade ago.