SOURCE: Northwest Natural Gas Company

Northwest Natural Gas Company

May 24, 2012 20:07 ET

NW Natural Elects New Board Chairman

PORTLAND, OR--(Marketwire - May 24, 2012) - The Board of Directors of Northwest Natural Gas Company, dba, NW Natural (NYSE: NWN), today announced at the company's annual shareholder meeting the election of Tod R. Hamachek as board chairman. Hamachek will replace Russell F. Tromley who is retiring after serving as chair since 2008 and as a member of the board since 1994.

"Russ's insights and his commitment over the past two decades to the company, its shareholders and the board have been invaluable. He's been a thoughtful leader who will be greatly missed," said Gregg Kantor, NW Natural President and CEO.

Incoming chair Hamachek has served on NW Natural's board since 1986. During his 26-year tenure, he served on the governance and audit committees, and chaired the strategic planning committee. "We are honored to have Tod step into the role as chair, and look forward to the leadership he will provide," added Kantor. "As our longest serving director, the continuity, historical perspective and expertise Tod brings is a huge advantage for the company."

Hamachek is the former chairman and CEO of Penwest Pharmaceuticals Company in Danbury, Conn. He currently serves as a director of The Seattle Times Company, The Blethen Corporation, Virginia Mason Medical Center and Virginia Mason Medical System in Seattle. He is also president of the Board of Directors of The Sun Valley Center for The Arts in Ketchum, Idaho. Hamacheck is a graduate of Williams College and Harvard Business School.

NW Natural board also approves to extend share repurchasing program
Additionally, NW Natural's board of directors today extended the company's share repurchase program effective through May 31, 2013. The repurchase program, first authorized in 2000, authorizes the company to purchase up to $100 million in value and up to 2.8 million shares of the company's common stock. Since the program's inception, the company has repurchased 2.1 million shares of common stock at a total cost of $83.3 million.

About NW Natural
NW Natural (NYSE: NWN) is headquartered in Portland, Ore., and provides natural gas service to about 682,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in western Oregon and southwestern Washington. It is the largest independent natural gas utility in the Pacific Northwest. Additional information is available at www.nwnatural.com.

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