Itron Inc., a maker of meter readers and associated equipment, said Thursday that it will split the jobs of chairman and chief executive between two executives.
Jon Eliassen, 62, will become chairman on Jan. 1. He has been an independent director since 1987. He replaces LeRoy Nosbaum, 63, who has served as chairman since 2002 and executive chairman since March.
When Nosbaum was appointed chairman seven years ago, he retained his chief executive position but ceded his title of president to Rob Neilson, the chief operating officer then. Neilson retired in 2006 and the president position was vacant until Malcolm Unsworth took the post in 2008.
In March, Nosbaum gave up his CEO post to Unsworth and moved from chairman to executive chairman of the board.
Itron said it named Eliassen as its chairman instead of Unsworth as a test of whether splitting the positions of CEO and chairman would serve the best interests of shareholders.
Eliassen is managing director of Terrapin Capital Group LLP, a private investment firm.
Shares of Itron, based in Liberty Lake, Wash., fell 72 cents to $66.11 in afternoon trading.