Doug Egan, the co-founder and former CEO of Competitive Power Ventures, has passed away at the age of 63 after a long illness.
A lawyer by training, Egan built a name for himself as a creative entrepreneur, tenacious dealmaker and supportive mentor over several decades working in project development at US Generating Co, its successor PG&E Generating Co, and later as the co-founder of CPV.
Among Egan's many accomplishments, his peers, rivals and colleagues consider his crowning glory to be his pioneering of the large-scale independent power business, before the entrance of the big publicly-listed and private equity-backed companies.
“He developed, pursued, and succeeded in realizing a vision of smaller, more nimble companies leading the entire power industry in developing a cleaner, more efficient generation fleet – something that the incumbent utilities were not able to do for a variety of reasons,” says Richard Cogen, a partner at Nixon Peabody who first met Egan in the late 1990s, when Egan was heading development at US Generating Co.
Egan’s commanding knowledge of the unregulated power sector and the significant influence he wielded over it precipitated the creation of CPV in 1999, with fellow PG&E alumnus Gary Lambert, who is CPV's present CEO.
Egan and Lambert wasted no time in establishing CPV as a premier development company and heavyweight market player, raising venture capital through a series of funding rounds.
In 2000, the pair secured $51 million from Warburg Pincus and a group of individual investors including Jacek Makowski, the founder of J. Makowski Co, where Egan and Lambert had worked prior to PG&E.
"The current market for new power generation facilities is unprecedented,” said Egan at the time. “The difference between companies that succeed in developing the projects to meet the need and companies that fail will be the quality of the individuals that manage those projects.”
In 2005, CPV landed $25 million in financing from ArcLight Capital Partners for its wind projects, and by 2008 it had raised a further $300 million from Warburg Pincus.
“The one thing Doug demonstrated to me is that there is always a deal,” says Egan’s former colleague, Sanford Hartman, a former vice president and managing director in PG&E's legal department. “No matter what happened, he would find that deal and get it done.”
He also found ways to keep the business afloat during challenging times.
“He found a way to keep CPV whole and alive by keeping an asset management business that probably saved CPV during the down periods between the early 2000s and 2010,” says a rival developer.
Having weathered the financial crisis and subsequent recession, which limited electricity demand growth, by 2015 CPV had attracted the attention of Global Infrastructure Partners, which succeeded Warburg Pincus as the firm's principal owner and agreed to fund CPV’s next round of growth.
“I’ve had the honor of knowing and working with Doug for over 25 years,” said Lambert, his long-time colleague. “He was my business partner, mentor and most importantly, my friend. He will be remembered as a man of unyielding integrity, honesty and a deep passion for life.”
“He cared…about people, about the industry and most importantly, about always doing the right thing, no exception or excuses,” added Tom Rumsey, senior vice president of regulatory and external affairs at CPV. "He and Gary built a family that happens to also be a company. I will miss him, as will everyone at CPV and beyond.”
Egan suffered from Alzheimer’s disease during the final stages of his life. He is survived by his wife Julie and sons Cody, Jack and Aaron.
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Egan started his career in project development in the early 1980s after graduating from Dartmouth College and Cornell Law School. He landed a job at Connecticut law firm Martha Cullina Richter & Pinney, where he represented the Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority in developing and financing waste-to-energy projects.
He went on to become vice president of development at J. Makowski Co in Boston, handling the acquisition and financial restructuring of Altresco Financial, and also served as general counsel for Intercontinental Energy Corp in Massachusetts, overseeing the construction of two cogeneration projects totaling more than 600 MW.
He then joined US Generating Co as vice president and regional executive for the Northeast, supervising six operating projects.
Egan rose to the position of senior vice president for development at US Generating's successor, PG&E Generating, initiating seven gas-fired projects and a wind project with a combined capacity exceeding 5 GW before co-founding CPV in 1999.
Egan is revered as a mentor by the three generations of power developers who rose through the ranks of the industry under his tutelage.
“Doug was one of the best mentors anyone could have in the power industry,” says Sean Finnerty, CPV’s executive vice president for M&A and renewable energy. “I learned very early on working for Doug that he could read a situation and work through issues quickly; assessing various paths forward with a clear goal.”
Although best known for his razor-sharp business acumen, Egan’s colleagues recall his soft spoken, calm and gentlemanly demeanor equally well.
“Doug Egan was a class act,” said Ted Brandt, CEO of Marathon Capital. “He was brilliant, creative, open minded and honest. He managed to be confident without arrogance, aggressive without being obnoxious and to make an important point without sucking the air from a room. He helped to build a great firm with CPV, along with Gary Lambert, and we will all miss Doug!”
“I was a competitor of Doug’s when I was at Panda, and he was gracious enough to invite me to CPV’s Las Vegas golf outing every year,” added Bob Simmons, founding partner of Panda Power Funds and now senior managing director at Marathon. “I found him to be a very likable gentleman, a very candid, upfront, trustworthy guy.”
"Doug was a true leader in the independent power industry," said Bill Bice, a partner in Milbank's project, energy and infrastructure finance group. “He was always thoughtful and caring – even to pesky lawyers on the other side of his transactions! My best memory of Doug isn’t one of him in some conference room making salient points on a tax equity document or in some hearing room defending a PPA - but rather him grooving to Little Feat in Vermont and just having the good time that he so deserved. Requiescat in pace.”