UPDATED: Castle & Cooke’s Rumbaoa to Head Molokai Ranch

(Updated Friday, Nov. 18, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.)

Castle & Cooke’s Clay R. Rumbaoa stepped in this week as executive director of Molokai Properties Ltd. (MPL), also known as Molokai Ranch, according to an announcement of cessation.

Peter Nicholas, who has served as executive director since 2002, will retire Dec. 31. Until that time, Rumbaoa and Nicholas will share a “handover period … to facilitate a smooth transition,” according to the announcement made by Singapore-based investment company GuocoLeisure Ltd., which owns MPL.

Rumbaoa served as director of engineering and development for Lanai with Castle & Cooke Resorts LLC since 2005, according to a GuocoLeisure announcement of appointment. He retired from that position this week.

Castle & Cooke, a major landowner on Lanai, is seeking to develop at least 200 megawatts (MW) of the 400-MW “Big Wind” project on that island, in which energy from wind turbines would be transmitted to Oahu via undersea cable. Developer Pattern Energy has sought to develop 200 MW of that project on Molokai but has met resistance from residents and legislators.

In July, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) ordered the issuance of a new request for proposals (RFPs) for the potential Molokai portion of the project, finding Castle & Cooke did not follow due process in assigning it to Pattern. In October, Hawaii Electric Company (HECO) released the new draft RFP, which seeks bids for 200 MW of renewable energy from any type of project on any island that could “reasonably” reach Oahu.

In a brief phone interview today, Rumbaoa declined to comment on Molokai’s role in Big Wind but said he would be looking at the project in the coming months.

“At this point I have no comment on that, I still don’t have all the facts,” he said.

He said MPL approached him about the executive director position a few months ago.

The PUC is expected to approve the RFP by March 31, 2012.

MPL’s executive director position is responsible for the “overall strategic and operational management of the company’s Molokai investment,” according to the announcements. MPL’s acreage encompasses about one-third of Molokai.

Nicholas will continue to oversee MPL’s investments in Fiji.

Nicholas did not respond to an email Wednesday. A call to the MPL office Thursday has not yet been returned.

The Dispatch will update this story online as more information becomes available.


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