ATLANTA, Feb. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning today announced that Dr. Larry S. Monroe has been named chief environmental officer and research and environmental affairs senior vice president of Southern Company Services, Inc., effective March 1. Monroe will succeed Christopher M. Hobson, who has announced plans to retire, effective June 27.
During the transition, Hobson will continue to oversee environmental external affairs and fulfill his leadership responsibilities with the Electric Power Research Institute and the Coal Utilization Research Council.
"Chris has been instrumental in helping Southern Company take a leadership role in developing innovative solutions for the environment," said Fanning. "The respect he has earned in the energy, regulatory, research and stakeholder communities has served our customers well and cemented Chris' legacy as a company and industry leader."
Monroe currently serves as environmental affairs general manager of subsidiary Georgia Power. In his new role, Monroe will be responsible for the Southern Company system's environmental initiatives, including the assessment of federal environmental policy, compliance strategies and stewardship, and the research and development of new energy innovations.
"Larry's extensive emissions-control technology research exemplifies Southern Company's commitment to energy innovation," said Fanning. "His leadership and expertise, which are widely recognized across the industry, have been central to our company's successful efforts to reduce emissions while ensuring we continue to meet our customers' growing demand for energy."
Monroe, 57, joined Southern Company in 1998 as a principal engineer in the research and environmental affairs organization. He has since served as manager of the emissions control research group and senior research consultant, and has conducted research into coal technologies for the utility industry at Southern Research Institute – a non-profit research organization – and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Laboratory.
Monroe earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Auburn University and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has held a variety of leadership roles in industry groups including the Utility Air Regulatory Group, the Electric Power Research Institute and the Coal Utilization Research Council.
Hobson joined the company in 1973. He was named senior vice president of Southern Company's research and environmental affairs organization in 2004 and chief environmental officer in 2009.
With 4.4 million customers and nearly 46,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast through its subsidiaries. A leading U.S. producer of clean, safe, reliable and affordable 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 energy innovation, excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are below the national average. Southern Company and its subsidiaries are leading the nation's nuclear renaissance through the construction of the first new nuclear units to be built in a generation of Americans and are demonstrating their commitment to energy innovation through the development of a state-of-the-art coal gasification plant. Southern Company has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense and G.I. Jobs magazine as a top military employer and listed by DiversityInc as a top company for Blacks. The company received the 2012 Edison Award from the Edison Electric Institute for its leadership in new nuclear development, was named Electric Light & Power magazine's Utility of the Year for 2012 and is continually ranked among the top utilities in Fortune's annual World's Most Admired Electric and Gas Utility rankings. Visit our website at www.southerncompany.com.