ATLANTA, Oct. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company today announced that Chris Womack, executive vice president and president of External Affairs, has been elected by the Georgia Power Board of Directors to succeed Paul Bowers as chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. Bowers' retirement is scheduled to coincide with Vogtle Unit 3 fuel load, which is expected in April 2021. Womack will serve as president of Georgia Power effective November 1, 2020 and assume his additional responsibilities as chairman and CEO upon Bowers' retirement.
"For more than a decade, Paul has led Georgia Power to be the premier energy company it is today. From industry-leading storm response and customer satisfaction, to the growth of a diverse fuel portfolio and a deep commitment to the communities we serve, he has positioned the company for continued success," said Tom Fanning, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company. "We knew it would take a remarkable leader to follow after him and we're confident Chris is that leader. He is a pillar of the community and his depth of experience in the energy industry, generation, public policy, governmental and regulatory affairs, and the state will be incredibly valuable as the company works to continue providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy for millions of Georgians. More importantly, Chris leads with a passion for people. The company, its employees and its customers are in good hands."
"It has been the honor of my life to serve alongside the men and women of Georgia Power. Each day, I have been reminded of their dedication to our customers, our communities and our state both in how they serve our customers and what they do for our communities," said Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. "I'm also extremely proud of the accomplishments the Georgia Power team has made, but most importantly the commitment to building a clean energy future for our state. Their dedication to bringing Vogtle 3 & 4 online to meet the energy needs for the next 60 to 80 years is now within sight. Seeing their incredible progress and having the confidence that Unit 3 will be online to meet our regulatory commitment assures me that it's the right time for us to start the transition to my retirement and leave the company in Chris' capable hands."
When Womack assumes his new role in November, he will lead Georgia Power in serving its 2.6 million customers across the state. He will be responsible for the company's customer service, economic development, generation, transmission, distribution, energy efficiency, charitable giving and volunteerism efforts. He'll also lead the company in storm response, environmental efforts and more.
"It's an exciting time to be back at Georgia Power, especially when we're poised to make history with the first new nuclear units in the U.S. in decades," said Chris Womack, executive vice president and president of External Affairs for Southern Company. "This company has an incredible legacy of delivering world-class customer service and reliability to Georgians, while also being a leader in the communities it serves. It is an honor to be able to come back and be a part of the wonderful team of people at Georgia Power and help continue their great work."
Serving as executive vice president and president of External Affairs for Southern Company since 2009, Womack has led overall external positioning and branding efforts including the company's public policy strategies and overseen the company's governmental and regulatory affairs, corporate communication initiatives and other external and strategic business engagements.
He joined Southern Company in 1988 and has held several leadership positions within the company and its subsidiaries, serving as executive vice president of external affairs at Georgia Power and senior vice president and senior production officer of Southern Company Generation, where he was responsible for coal, gas, and hydro generation for Georgia Power and Savannah Electric. Womack also served as senior vice president of human resources and chief people officer at Southern Company, as well as senior vice president of public relations and corporate services at Alabama Power. Prior to joining Southern Company, Womack worked for the U.S. House of Representatives for then-Congressman Leon E. Panetta.
Womack is a member of the board of directors of Essential Utilities, Inc. He currently chairs the board of the East Lake Foundation, is on the national board of The First Tee and is the incoming chair of the board for the Alliance to Save Energy. Womack has chaired the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau board and the Atlanta Sports Council. He has also chaired the board for Communities in Schools of Georgia and served as a member of the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta board. He has received numerous honors, including the SCLC Leadership Award (1998).
A native of Greenville, Alabama, Womack holds a bachelor's degree from Western Michigan University and a master's degree from The American University. He completed the Stanford Executive Program and is a member of the Leadership Atlanta class of 2000 and the Leadership Birmingham class of 1990.
Bowers joined Southern Company in 1979 at Gulf Power and has served as Georgia Power's chairman, president and CEO for the past 11 years. Under his tenue, Georgia Power has been consistently recognized by J.D. Power for excellence in customer service, customer satisfaction and reliability while keeping rates 15% below the national average.
In connection with the changes at Georgia Power, Southern Company today announced the promotion of Bryan D. Anderson, senior vice president of governmental affairs, to the roles of executive vice president and president of external affairs, effective Nov. 1, succeeding Womack. Anderson will serve on the company's executive management council.
Since joining Southern Company in 2010, Anderson has managed and directed the company's political, policy and regulatory activities. He will continue to manage and be based out of Southern Company's Washington, D.C., office. In his new role, Anderson also assumes responsibility for the company's branding, corporate communications, security policy and other external affairs functions.
"An incredible leader of individuals and teams, Bryan over the past ten years has developed a keen understanding of our business and industry," Fanning added. "He understands the importance of building consensus in the ever-changing external environment, and he has a proven track record of achieving bipartisan policy solutions that drive growth and prosperity in the communities we are privileged to serve."
Before joining Southern Company, Anderson worked for The Coca-Cola Company as vice president of government relations and public affairs. During that time, he served as that company's primary liaison to the federal government and oversaw the planning, budget development and administration for its government relations function. Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company, Anderson served in the law offices of Sumner & Hewes in Atlanta and O'Connor & Hannan in Washington.
A native of Georgia, Anderson earned a bachelor of business administration with a concentration in finance from the University of Georgia and a juris doctor from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in Macon, Ga.
About Southern Company
Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is a leading energy company serving 9 million customers through its subsidiaries. The company provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through electric operating companies in three states, natural gas distribution companies in four states, a competitive generation company serving wholesale customers across America, a leading distributed energy infrastructure company, a fiber optics network and telecommunications services. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and affordable prices below the national average. For more than a century, we have been building the future of energy and developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including carbon-free nuclear, advanced carbon capture technologies, natural gas, renewables, energy efficiency and storage technology. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation and a low-carbon future, Southern Company and its subsidiaries develop the customized energy solutions our customers and communities require to drive growth and prosperity. Our uncompromising values ensure we put the needs of those we serve at the center of everything we do and govern our business to the benefit of our world. Our corporate culture and hiring practices have been recognized nationally by the U.S. Department of Defense, G.I. Jobs magazine, DiversityInc, Black Enterprise, Fortune's "World's Most Admired Companies" list, Forbes and the Women's Choice Award. To learn more, visit www.southerncompany.com.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning the expected schedule for completion of construction and start-up of Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, including the expected schedule for Unit 3 fuel load. Southern Company cautions that there are certain factors that can cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Southern Company; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Southern Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2020, June 30, 2020 and September 30, 2020, and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including extended disruptions to supply chains and further reduced labor availability and productivity, which could have a variety of adverse impacts, including a negative impact on the ability to develop, construct, and operate Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4; the ability to control costs and avoid cost and schedule overruns during the development, construction, and operation of Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, which includes components based on new technology that only within the last few years began initial operation in the global nuclear industry at this scale, and including changes in labor costs, availability and productivity, challenges with management of contractors or vendors, subcontractor performance, adverse weather conditions, shortages, delays, increased costs, or inconsistent quality of equipment, materials, and labor, contractor or supplier delay, delays due to judicial or regulatory action, nonperformance under construction, operating, or other agreements, operational readiness, including specialized operator training and required site safety programs, engineering or design problems, design and other licensing-based compliance matters, including, the timely submittal by Southern Nuclear of the Inspections, Tests, Analyses, and Acceptance Criteria documentation for each unit and the related reviews and approvals by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission ("NRC") necessary to support NRC authorization to load fuel, challenges with start-up activities, including major equipment failure or system integration, and/or operational performance; the ability to overcome or mitigate the current challenges at Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, including, but not limited to, those related to COVID-19, that could further impact the cost and schedule for the project; legal proceedings and regulatory approvals and actions related to Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, including Public Service Commission approvals and NRC actions; under certain specified circumstances, a decision by holders of more than 10% of the ownership interests of Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 not to proceed with construction; the ability to construct facilities in accordance with the requirements of permits and licenses (including satisfaction of NRC requirements); the inherent risks involved in operating and constructing nuclear generating facilities; the ability of counterparties of Georgia Power to make payments as and when due and to perform as required; the direct or indirect effect on Georgia Power's business resulting from cyber intrusion or physical attack and the threat of physical attacks; and catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and other storms, droughts, pandemic health events or other similar occurrences. Southern Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward–looking information.
SOURCE Southern Company