Southern Company Announces Management Changes

Jun 30, 2010, 13:00 ET from Southern Company

ATLANTA, June 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Southern Company Chief Operating Officer Thomas A. Fanning announced today several leadership changes in the company's operations organization.  

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Ronnie L. Bates, president and CEO, Southern Power, and Jerry L. Stewart, chief production officer for Southern Company and senior vice president, Alabama Power, have decided to retire effective Oct. 1.  Fanning said the retirements of Bates and Stewart will be strongly felt across the company and industry.

"Ronnie and Jerry have provided the kind of leadership and guidance that have helped position the company as a leader in our industry and as one of the premier energy companies not only in the U.S. but the world," said Fanning.  "Under Ronnie's direction, Southern Power has become a major wholesale generating company with nearly 8,500 megawatts of capacity from the Carolinas to Texas.  Jerry's commitment to performance excellence and superior operations management has helped make our generating fleet the nation's best, providing the reliability that our customers have come to expect."

Oscar C. Harper will succeed Bates in leading Southern Power, which acquires, builds, manages and owns the company's wholesale generation assets.  Effective immediately, Harper will assume the role of president of Southern Power, as well as become a senior vice president of Southern Company Services.  He was formerly vice president, energy planning and nuclear development, at Southern Company's Georgia Power subsidiary.

Douglas E. Jones will succeed Stewart as chief production officer.  Jones will remain senior production officer for Georgia Power until a successor is named.  His new position will include oversight of all fossil and hydro generating facilities owned and operated by Southern Company's four electric utilities in the Southeast.

Theodore J. McCullough has been named senior vice president, Southern Company Services, effective immediately.  McCullough also has been elected senior production officer and senior vice president by the Alabama Power board of directors.  He was previously senior production officer and vice president for Southern Company's Gulf Power subsidiary.

"This is another example of the depth of leadership and bench strength that we have throughout Southern Company," said Fanning.  "We are fortunate to have individuals such as Oscar, Doug and Ted who possess the knowledge, experience and qualities we'll need as our company continues to meet our commitment of providing reliable, affordable and increasingly cleaner electricity for our customers."

Harper joined the company in 1984.  He has held various leadership positions in marketing, power delivery, competitive generation, regulatory affairs and national accounts. He earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Auburn University and a master's degree in business administration from Brenau University, in addition to completing executive management programs at Harvard and Emory universities.

Jones came to the company in 1980.  He has held positions in retail marketing and regulatory affairs at Georgia Power, energy marketing at Southern Company and executive management at Southern Company Generation and Southern Power.  Prior to assuming his current position in 2006, he was Georgia Power senior vice president of customer service and sales. Jones has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a master's degree in business administration from Kennesaw State University. He also completed Oxford University Templeton College's advanced management program.

McCullough joined the company in 1987.  He has held leadership positions at five power plants as well as responsibilities in fuel services, system planning and business development operations. A registered professional engineer, McCullough holds bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics from Vanderbilt University and a master's in business administration from Auburn University.

Bates closes out a 35-year career with Southern Company, starting with the company's Mississippi Power subsidiary in 1975.  He was named Southern Power president and CEO in 2005.

Stewart joined Southern Company in 1973 at Alabama Power. He has served as Alabama Power's senior production officer since 1999 and became chief production officer for Southern Company in 2002.  

With 4.4 million customers and more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast.  A leading U.S. producer of electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications.  Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices below the national average.  Southern Company is consistently listed among the top U.S. electric service providers in customer satisfaction by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).  Visit our Web site at

SOURCE Southern Company