Jim Robo – who transformed Florida utility holding company NextEra Energy into the largest US solar and wind energy producer, and among the leaders globally – surprised the industry by announcing he will step down on 1 March.

NextEra’s shares tumbled more than 8% on the news to $75.10 at the close of trading in New York on Tuesday.

John Ketchum, CEO of subsidiary NextEra Energy Resources, the company’s competitive wholesale power company with 21GW of mostly renewable generation capacity, will succeed Robo.