RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Mario Rodriguez, the cofounder and CEO of Northern Tier Energy LP--parent company of the SuperAmerica convenience store chain--resigned Dec. 21, noting a desire to "explore new opportunities." Fellow cofounder, president and chief operating officer Hank Kuchta has assumed the role of CEO of the company.
"We thank Mario for his many contributions to the growth and success of Northern Tier Energy and wish him continued success with his future endeavors," said Dan Smith, chairman of the Board of Directors of Northern Tier Energy GP LLC, the general partner of the Partnership, who will be elevated to executive chairman. "We are fortunate to have Hank lead Northern Tier Energy and expect, with his background not only with Northern Tier Energy but in the energy and refining business, to have a smooth transition."
Rodriguez said, "With the announcement of two consecutive quarters of record operating and financial results, the successful completion of the initial public offering of Northern Tier Energy, and the completion of our recent debt refinancing, I felt the time was right for me to step down and to explore new opportunities. I am happy to leave Northern Tier Energy in the very capable hands of Hank Kuchta, who has been with the company since its inception in December 2010."
Prior to his role at Northern Tier Energy, Kuchta was president and COO of Premcor, which operated four refineries in the United States with total refining capacity of approximately 750,000 barrels per day. Kuchta served in this role during the IPO of Premcor and at the time of its sale to Valero in April 2005. Before joining Premcor, Hank served as a business development manager for Phillips 66 Co. following Phillips' 2001 acquisition of Tosco Corp.
"Mario and I cofounded this business, and I have been president and chief operating officer of this company since the beginning," Kuchta said. "The company has had many achievements under our leadership and is in a strong financial position. I look forward to the opportunity to lead this company to a bright future, and I am fortunate to take the reins of Northern Tier Energy following our record third-quarter results and initial cash distribution."
Smith has served as chairman of the Board of Directors of Northern Tier Energy LLC since Nov. 29, 2011, and as a director since May 2011. Smith is the former chairman, president and CEO of Lyondell Chemical Co. He began his career with ARCO (Atlantic Richfield Co.) in 1968 as an engineer.
Northern Tier Energy LP is an independent downstream energy company with refining, retail and pipeline operations that serves the PADD II region of the United States. Northern Tier Energy operates an 84,500-barrel-per-stream-day refinery located in St. Paul Park, Minnesota. Northern Tier Energy also operates 166 convenience stores and supports 68 franchised convenience stores, primarily in Minnesota and Wisconsin, under the SuperAmerica trademark, and owns a bakery and commissary under the SuperMom's brand. Northern Tier Energy is based in Ridgefield, Conn.