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First Niagara leader gets nod to chair NYPA

NYPA photo

The president of First Niagara Financial Group has been officially named to chair the New York Power Authority. 

NYPA trustees Tuesday morning approved John Koelmel of Amherst to serve as the new chairman. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo nominated Koelmel last month.  Koelmel is also serving as an adviser to the Governor on economic issues from Western New York. 

According to the Buffalo News, Koelmel will not take compensation for the post.   

“I’m looking forward to contributing to the Power Authority’s important role in helping to carry out the Governor’s energy, economic development and environmental policies. We have a great team at NYPA and I’m confident that under the Governor’s forward-thinking leadership we’re going to accomplish much for the people of New York State," said Koelmel after the Governor nominated him.

Koelmel spent the initial 26 years of his career at KPMG LLP, serving as Managing Partner of the Buffalo office and the firm's Upstate New York Business Unit.  Koelmel is currently chair of the Kaleida Health Board of Directors, the largest health care provider in Western New York through its five hospitals and numerous community health care centers. He is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Accounting from the College of the Holy Cross.

Koelmel will be replacing current NYPA Chairman Michael Townsend who joined the Board of Trustees in 2004 and has served as Chair since 2009.