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A Butte executive who spent 30 years with the former Montana Power Co. and helped usher in the sale of the utility assets has resigned.

John D. (Jack) Haffey announced Monday he will retire as president of NorthWestern Energy LLC, on May 31.

"With the successful completion of the sale of Montana Power to NorthWestern Corporation, I have decided that now is the right time to complete my service with this great company," he said. "I'm looking forward to spending more time with my family as well as pursuing other interests."

NorthWestern spokeswoman Claudia Rapkoch said Haffey's position will not be filled.

"There are no further organizational changes as a result of Jack's retirement," she said.

Rapkoch said Haffey's retirement triggers a "change in control" payment, but said the final number hasn't been calculated yet.

According to previous corporate documents, Haffey will be paid $1.7 million for his change in control payment, which is commonly called a "golden parachute."

Haffey started working for Montana Power in 1972 and was promoted to chief operating officer of Montana Power's utility operations in 1996. The next year, MPC successfully lobbied the Montana Legislature to deregulate the generation of electricity.

In March 2000, Montana Power announced it was selling off all its energy businesses and becoming a pure telecommunications company called Touch America Holdings.

The same year, Haffey was named president of MPC's utility operations.

On Feb. 15, after NorthWestern bought MPC's transmission and distribution properties, Haffey was named president of NorthWestern Energy LLC. NorthWestern is a South Dakota utility based in Sioux Falls.

Mike Hanson, president and chief executive officer of NorthWestern Energy, which now oversees the former MPC assets, thanked Haffey for his leadership.

"Jack has had a great career with Montana Power and he was instrumental in helping put together what is today NorthWestern Energy," Hanson said.

Haffey, a former Montana state senator, said he will continue his community activities including Carroll College, the Western Energy Institute Board and the Board of the Community Hospital of Anaconda, his hometown.

NorthWestern holds its earnings report for the first quarter of 2002 today at 9 a.m. You can follow the event by logging onto NorthWestern's Web site.

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