The B.C. politician who prompted a firestorm of criticism in 2006 for defecting from the Liberal party to become a Conservative cabinet minister is trying his hand at a new job.

Former Vancouver-Kingsway MP David Emerson, who chose not to run again in the 2008 election, has been named CEO and board chair of the B.C. Transmission Corporation.

The Crown corporation plans, operates and maintains the province's publicly-owned electrical transmission system. It runs relationships with its main customer, BC Hydro, as well as regulators, First Nations communities and other stakeholders.

Emerson replaces the departing chair Bob Reid and CEO Jane Peverett. Their salaries were $58,000 and $436,470, respectively.

Emerson angered voters when he retained his seat as a federal Liberal in the 2006 election, only to cross over to the Conservatives two weeks after the election. He defended the move by saying that he felt he could be more helpful to his constituents, as well as the city of Vancouver, as a member of government.

The move angered many voters in the riding, who had not elected a Conservative since 1958. The third-place Conservative candidate in the 2006 election received only 18 per cent of the vote.

Emerson entered Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet as minister for International Trade, and earlier this year served briefly in the Foreign Affairs post.

He was considered a cabinet heavyweight because of his strong business background. He had most recently been the president and CEO of Canfor Corporation and the Vancouver International Airport. He has several corporate boards including Telus, Terasen Gas and BC Ferries.

Emerson says B.C. is already a North American leader in clean energy generation and transmission and he's looking forward to working with BC Hydro to develop the province's energy potential and oversee B.C.'s power grid.

With a report from The Canadian Press