By St. Louis Business Journal

Laclede Group Chairman, President and Chief Executive Douglas Yaeger, 61, said Tuesday he plans to retire in January 2012 after 12 years at the helm.

He said he would continue to serve as a director of Laclede after his retirement.

⿿I have given much thought to this decision, and it is clear to me that the timing is right from both a professional and a personal stand point,⿝ Yaeger said in a statement. ⿿The board and I have been actively engaged in succession planning during the past several years, and I believe the company is well-positioned for the future.⿝

An executive search firm will consider both internal and external candidates.

During Yaegerâ¿¿s tenure, Laclede changed from a natural gas utility to a holding company. The company also developed its Laclede Energy Resources, its non-regulated natural gas marketer, and bought and sold SM&P Utility Resources, an underground facility locating and marking company.

Yaeger is one of the highest-paid executives in St. Louis, brining in $2.57 million in total compensation in 2009.

Laclede is one of the largest St. Louis-based public companies with $1.9 billion in revenue in 2009.

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