FirstEnergy Names New CEO
March 5, 2021 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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FirstEnergy Corp., the ultimate parent of electricity broker FirstEnergy Advisors (FirstEnergy Home) and several distribution utilities, announced that Steven E. Strah has been named the Company's chief executive officer and a member of the Board of Directors, effective immediately.
Strah has served as acting chief executive officer of FirstEnergy Corp. since October 2020, and as president, a position he continues to hold, since May 2020.
Strah had been appointed President in May 2020 as part of the Company's ordinary-course succession planning process. In this role, he oversees FirstEnergy Utilities; Corporate Services and Information Technology; Finance; Product Development, Marketing and Branding; External Affairs; Rates and Regulatory Affairs; and Strategy. He was elected senior vice president and chief financial officer in 2018. He began his career with The Illuminating Company in 1984 and served in a variety of utility leadership roles including regional president of Ohio Edison; vice president, Distribution Support; and senior vice president, FirstEnergy Utilities.
FirstEnergy stated, "The Board of Directors and the executive management team under Strah's leadership have acted with a sense of urgency to address current challenges and are implementing key initiatives to enhance shareholder value and reshape FirstEnergy into a more resilient, industry-leading organization of the future. Since being appointed acting CEO, Strah has spearheaded the company-wide FE Forward program that is expected to transform FirstEnergy in a way that provides near-term value while opening new opportunities for longer-term growth. The proactive steps being taken will support the company's future growth trajectory for the benefit of shareholders and all stakeholders."
Strah said, "We are confident that these initiatives, which we have developed over the last several months, will strengthen our business and build on the substantial progress we have already made toward our objectives with FE Forward. We are undertaking a transformation that is intended to enhance value for our shareholders and improve our credit profile while reinvesting in a truly modern and distinctive experience that improves customer service and satisfaction -- all of which will put FirstEnergy on the right path forward."
Undertakings under FE Forward include (among other things), "Accelerating the company's digital transformation by revamping customers' online experience, automating sourcing data collection and management, and deploying advanced analytics in asset health decisions as well as vegetation management programs."
"FE Forward is expected to be a significant catalyst to augment the company's growth potential by taking a more strategic approach to operating expenditures and reinvesting in a more diversified capital program that over the long term continues to support a smarter and cleaner electric grid. As part of these efforts, the company will evaluate the appropriate cadence to initiate rate cases on a state-by-state basis to best support the company's customer-focused strategic priorities," FirstEnergy said
"With respect to FirstEnergy's overall financing plan, equity remains an important part of the company's plan with $600 million expected to be issued annually in 2022 and 2023, as reaffirmed in its most recent quarterly earnings, with flexibility to adjust the equity plan as necessary. The company will also explore various alternatives to raise capital to strengthen its core business and support enhanced credit metrics as well as its long-term regulated transmission and distribution growth objectives. While the 2021 debt financing plan remains unchanged, through FE Forward the company expects to reduce its debt financing plan by up to $1 billion through 2023, mainly at the FirstEnergy and FirstEnergy Transmission holding companies. These actions, coupled with the company's 60%-plus formula rate capital investment program, are expected to enable FirstEnergy to achieve its targeted funds-from-operations to debt ratio of 12-13% in 2024," FirstEnergy said