MULTI-PRONGED STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP
BY TOM LINQUIST
Tom Fanning is Chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based Southern Company, which has $18 billion in annual revenues and is the second largest utility in the US, with 9 million gas and electric customers in 9 states. Fanning has been Chairman and CEO since December of 2010.
Tom has been very active in industry leadership. He is serving as EEI Chairman this year and is Chairman of the Electricity Sub-Sector Coordinating Council, the principal liaison between the electric sector and the federal government for coordinating efforts against cyber threats and physical terrorism. Moreover, Southern Company, under Tom’s leadership, is taking positions across a curiously wide spectrum of the nation’s energy value chain.
I joined Tom Fanning in his office in Atlanta for this conversation on August 10th 2016. Part 1 of our discussion reveals his rationale for Southern’s investment activities and his vision and leadership in actuating it. Southern Company has been building and buying in key areas including nuclear, renewables, natural gas, clean coal, and energy efficiency. If Southern’s sweeping strategic activity raises questions in the observance, Tom’s answers both illuminate Southern’s vision and illustrate the characteristics of his leadership.
We sorted through what Tom calls his “All of the Above” approach by addressing Southern’s areas of investment one by one.
Part 2 focuses on Tom Fanning’s leadership activities outside of, but certainly related to, Southern Company. He is serving as EEI Chairman this year and is Chairman of the Electricity Sub-Sector Coordinating Council, the principal liaison between the electric sector and the federal government for coordinating efforts against cyber threats and physical terrorism. Our conversation explores his vision as Chairman of EEI this year, and his leadership in cyber and physical security and his call to action for the other “lifeline” or critical sectors like financial services and telecom.
Tom Fanning BIO
Thomas A. (Tom) Fanning has been chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company since 2010. Under Fanning's leadership, Southern Company is focused on continually finding better ways to serve customers and communities with clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy.
With more than 35 years of experience at Southern Company, Fanning also serves as chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and holds senior positions in numerous business and public policy organizations, making him an internationally respected voice on issues ranging from energy innovation and economic growth to cybersecurity.
Fanning is a passionate proponent of a common-sense national energy policy based on developing the full portfolio of energy resources. As such, Southern Company is the only U.S. energy provider investing in nuclear, 21st century coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency. Through its subsidiaries, Southern Company is leading America's nuclear renaissance by constructing two state-of-the-art units in Georgia, building an innovative coal gasification facility in Mississippi and has added or announced more than 4,000 megawatts of renewable energy since 2012. Following the completion of its merger with Southern Company Gas (formerly AGL Resources), in July 2016, Southern Company now serves 9 million electric and gas utility customers across the United States.
Building on a legacy of robust, proprietary research and development, Fanning also has challenged Southern Company's 32,500 employees to build the future of energy and develop real solutions that improve peoples' lives.
Fanning says of Southern Company's mission: "In everything we do, our goal is to provide people with ways to better meet their economic challenges, build better communities and seek a better future for their children."
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