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Reliant Energy's Texas Power-Retailing Chief Resigns

Reliant Energy Inc., owner of power plants in 12 U.S. states, said the head of its Texas retail business quit last week.

Jim Robb, a former McKinsey & Co. partner who joined Reliant in 2002, tendered his resignation on Nov. 23, company spokeswoman Pat Hammond said today in a telephone interview. She declined to say why Robb quit or what he plans to do next. He will remain available to Houston-based Reliant as a consultant until Jan. 1, Hammond said.

Power retailing is Reliant's largest business, accounting for about three-fourths of revenue, and Texas is its biggest market. The company on Nov. 1 said it will have a $100 million retailing loss in the first quarter after locking in higher fuel costs than it will be able to pass on to customers under an agreement with regulators.

Reliant will conduct a search for Robb's replacement, Hammond said. ``Robb made a significant contribution to our business strategy and leading us into the retail market,'' she said.

Robb declined through Hammond to comment on his resignation. He joined Reliant as a senior vice president after Texas opened its $20 billion-a-year electricity market to competition.

Shares of Reliant fell 11 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $9.75 at 11:48 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock has dropped 29 percent this year.

Reliant is the second-largest Texas power retailer, ranking behind Dallas-based TXU Corp. Paul O'Malley, head of TXU's power generation and retail unit, resigned in mid-July.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eileen O'Grady in Houston at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robert Dieterich at

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