WENATCHEE — General Manager Steve Wright is leaving the Chelan County PUD after eight years in the utility’s top job.

“The primary reason is simply that it’s been long enough. I’ve spent 40 years in the industry, 20 years in leadership. I want the opportunity to try something new,” he announced in a Tuesday afternoon statement.

“My contract with the PUD to serve as the General Manager runs through the end of this year. I have informed the Board that I do not intend to serve as the General Manager beyond that,” he said in the statement.

Wright was hired by the PUD in 2013 after a short-lived retirement from his previous position as head of the Bonneville Power Administration in Oregon. He started at Bonneville in 1981 in an entry-level position before becoming its intermediate leader in 2000 and then being permanently appointed in 2002.

Wright said he’s made his announcement early to allow the PUD’s board of commissioners time to search for his replacement and with enough time for an overlap in the transition.

In a statement of its own, the commission said it will conduct a national search for a new general manager and noted that the public will have an opportunity for input. They also thanked Wright for his work.

“We are particularly grateful that Steve will stay on as the General Manager through the end of this year and fulfill the full term of his contract,” the commissioners said. “We’d like for him to stay longer, but we appreciate the time he has given us.”

As for the future, Wright’s not sure what’s next for him.

“I have some thoughts but no firm plans. First and foremost, having run a few marathons, I believe in running through the tape,” Wright said in the statement. “I am feeling very optimistic about Chelan PUD and Chelan County. I want to make sure I am providing full effort until it’s the next person’s turn. We will keep doing what we have been doing, guided by our strategic plan.”

Former federal-power big fish Steve Wright to take top job at Chelan PUD