(Bloomberg) -- Activist investor Elliott Investment Management disclosed a new position in NiSource Inc. and said it supported the energy company’s move to appoint a new chief executive officer and two directors.  

Lloyd Yates will become CEO on Feb. 14, replacing Joe Hamrock, who will retire after nearly a decade with the company, Merrillville, Indiana-based NiSource announced Thursday. Hamrock will also step down from the board, along with Carolyn Woo, who has been a director since 1999. 

The management shift comes almost two years after the company agreed to sell a Massachusetts pipeline system that exploded in 2018, as part of a plea deal with U.S. authorities. Elliott, which has a long record of taking stakes in energy companies and pressing for changes, said it approved of the move. 

“As one of NiSource’s largest investors, Elliott welcomes the company’s decision to refresh its management and board following our recent dialogue,” the investor said in a separate statement. “We hope that incoming CEO Lloyd Yates is committed to taking the necessary strategic and operational steps to deliver improved value for shareholders and safe, reliable service for customers.”

NiSource shares climbed as much as 2.5% in New York, the most intraday since Dec. 6.

What Bloomberg Intelligence Says

‘NiSource’s new CEO, Lloyd Yates, will likely consider selling local gas-distribution companies (LDCs) and separating electric and gas utilities after taking the helm on Feb. 14.’ - Nikki Hsu and Kit Konolige, analysts.

Read the full report here.

Elliott did not disclose the size of its stake. The position is likely less than 5% of NiSource’s common shares, an ownership threshold that would typically trigger a regulatory filing if it were crossed. 

Hamrock and Woo will be replaced on the board by Sondra Barbour and Cassandra Lee.

Yates previously served as an executive at Duke Energy Corp., most recently as executive vice-president of customer and delivery operations and president of the company’s Carolinas region. 

Elliott also pushed for changes at Duke Energy last year before reaching a settlement with the company in November that saw two new directors appointed to its board. 

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