MERRILLVILLE, Ind., March 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) today announced that Joseph Hamrock will join the company on May 1 as executive vice president and group chief executive officer for NiSource's Gas Distribution segment, which includes local gas distribution companies in six states. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120321/DE73770 ) Hamrock fills an existing NiSource corporate leadership role that had been held on an interim basis by NiSource President & CEO Robert C. Skaggs Jr. since September 2011. Skaggs stepped into the role when NiSource Executive Vice President and Group CEO Jimmy D. Staton assumed responsibility for the corporation's natural gas transmission and storage business unit. Hamrock comes to NiSource after serving in a variety of senior executive positions in the energy and regulated utility industry, including roles in engineering, transmission and distribution operations, customer service, marketing and information technology. Most recently he served as president and chief operating officer of American Electric Power (AEP) Ohio. "We are very pleased Joe is bringing his highly regarded leadership skills and extensive experience in the regulated utility industry to our senior executive team," Skaggs said. "Joe's collaborative leadership style is a great fit with our NiSource approach – as is his commitment to building and leading strong, engaged and diverse organizations. I'm confident Joe will help our strong NiSource Gas Distribution teams continue delivering outstanding value for our customers and stakeholders." Hamrock will have profit-and-loss responsibility for all operations, regulatory and commercial functions at NiSource's gas distribution operations in Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. In coordination with leadership teams across each of these areas, his focus will be on advancing the company's long-term growth plan, premised on a steady stream of infrastructure improvements and growth investments, synchronized with complementary regulatory and customer program initiatives. Hamrock will report to Skaggs and serve as a member of NiSource's executive management council. "I'm excited to be joining the NiSource Gas Distribution team as we advance an industry-leading agenda of infrastructure investments, customer programs and regulatory strategies," Hamrock said. "I've long been impressed with NiSource's talented team, the company's balanced business strategy and its collaborative and transparent approach. I look forward to providing support, coaching and coordination as we deliver on our commitments, and execute on NiSource's plan to be North America's premier regulated energy company." Hamrock began his energy industry career in 1986 as an electrical engineer in transmission and distribution planning at AEP in Steubenville, Ohio. He went on to work in commercial and industrial customer services, and held leadership roles in commercial marketing and customer services, strategic development and other executive roles. Prior to becoming president of AEP Ohio, Hamrock was senior vice president and chief information officer in AEP's Shared Services organization from 2003-2007, and from 2002 to 2003 was senior vice president - General Services. He received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1985 from Youngstown State University in Ohio and a master's degree in business administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, where he was a Sloan fellow. He is a registered professional engineer in Ohio. About NiSource NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI), based in Merrillville, Ind., is a Fortune 500 company engaged in natural gas transmission, storage and distribution, as well as electric generation, transmission and distribution. NiSource operating companies deliver energy to 3.8 million customers located within the high-demand energy corridor stretching from the Gulf Coast through the Midwest to New England. Information about NiSource and its subsidiaries is available via the Internet at www.nisource.com. NI-F Forward Looking Statements This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Those statements include statements regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of NiSource and its management. Although NiSource believes that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its goals will be achieved. Readers are cautioned that the forward-looking statements in this release are not guarantees of future performance and involve a number of risks and uncertainties, and that actual results could differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the matters set forth in the "Risk Factors" Section and the Note regarding forward-looking statements in NiSource's 2011 Form 10-K, many of which are risks beyond the control of NiSource. NiSource expressly disclaims a duty to update any of the forward-looking statements contained in this release.