ALLETE's board elects Owen president

Bethany Owen has been named president of ALLETE, Inc. by the corporation’s board of directors. 

Owen, 53, has been with the company for more than 16 years and will report to chairman and CEO Al Hodnik. The announcement followed an internal executive development process and strategic succession planning by ALLETE’s directors, a company statement said.

In her new role, Owen will be working in close partnership with Hodnik to oversee further formation and execution of the company’s growth strategy, as well as oversight of its five operating divisions – Minnesota Power, Superior Water Light and Power, ALLETE Clean Energy, U.S. Water Services and BNI Energy.

In Owen’s most recent role with the company, she served as ALLETE’s senior vice president and chief legal and administrative officer, with overall responsibility for the company’s legal, information and operations technology, cyber security and human resources departments, while working closely with the board on governance matters. 

“Bethany is a proven leader and her values-based leadership, strategic planning skills and diverse operational and labor relations experience make her a unique fit for this new role,” Hodnik said in prepared remarks. “She has consistently demonstrated keen ability to lead and achieve strong outcomes in a variety of roles while staying true to ALLETE’s values and culture of integrity, safety and environmental stewardship. I look forward to working closely with Bethany and the rest of the senior team on advancing ALLETE’s long-term strategy of answering the call to transform the nation’s energy landscape, enhancing shareholder value and maintaining our deep commitment to customer service.”

In 2010, Owen became president of ALLETE’s Superior Water Light and Power utility, based in Superior. While serving in that role for more than six years, she led strategy development, operational improvements of the electric, water and gas utility including a multi-million dollar investment in new infrastructure to improve safety and reliability, and other measures to enhance the customer experience, the company said. In 2014, she  added leadership of information technology solutions to her responsibilities and was named vice president.

“I am humbled and excited to have the opportunity to lead ALLETE and its great people during this transformational time within our industry,” Owen said. “Through our strategic positioning and execution, ALLETE is financially strong, and its businesses are highly focused on serving our customers with excellence while ensuring a sustainable, cleaner and less carbon intense future. I look forward to working closely with our chairman and CEO Al Hodnik, our strong leadership team, the ALLETE directors, and all of our dedicated and talented employees to drive long-term growth and value for our shareholders.”

Prior to moving to Duluth and joining ALLETE in 2002, Owen worked for four years in the United States Senate in Washington, D.C., with the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and in the office of former U.S. Sen. Richard G. Lugar of Indiana. She also gained considerable experience in the telecommunications and food industries, holding positions as legal counsel for various public and private ventures after receiving her law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School.