Merrillville-based NiSource Inc. has named Kevin Kabat chairman of its board of directors, subject to his re-election at the 2019 annual stockholders meeting. He currently serves as a board member and vice chairman.

Kabat would succeed Richard Thompson following his retirement from the NiSource board at the end of the current term. 

"Kevin's deep understanding of operating in a regulated environment, balancing the interests of many stakeholders, and extensive experience in strategic planning, financial reporting, risk management, internal controls and capital markets makes him an excellent choice to serve as chairman," said Thompson in a news release.

Kabat has been a member of the NiSource board since 2015. He also serves on the company's audit, nominating and governance, and compensation committees. 

He was previously chief executive officer of Fifth Third Bancorp from April 2007 to November 2015.

Pending the re-election, Kabat will step into his new role May 7.