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The CEO Power Forum: The Best of the Best

Five electric utility chiefs are showing true leadership for their companies and for an entire industry.
Fortnightly Magazine - May 15 2003

From all of us at the Fortnightly, we hope you enjoy this year's CEO forum.

Chairman, President, and CEO of Southern Co.

"A lot of wholesale customers are most interested in having a reliable, dependable source of power to serve their customers. We are seeing a lot of those folks turn to us."

The Company

Market Cap End of 1Q 2003:
$20.5 billion

P/E Ratio End of 1Q2003:
15.5 times earnings

Revenue 2002:
$10.55 billion

Net Income 2002:
$1.32 billion or $1.86 per share


The Executive

Age: 58

Education: Franklin received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Alabama.

Board Memberships: Franklin is a member of the board of directors of Southern Co. He is a director of SouthTrust Corp. He was elected a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Franklin serves on the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta's board of directors. He is a member of the board of directors of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. He was appointed by former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes to the Board of the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade, and Tourism. He served as president of the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and as chairman of the Centennial Olympic Park Area Inc. He also served on the advisory board for the Atlanta area Salvation Army, the board of directors of Central Atlanta Progress, National Board of the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the board of trustees of the Robert Woodruff Arts Center and Georgia Research Alliance.

Earlier in Career: Prior to his current position, he was president and chief operating officer of Southern Co. From 1994 to 1999, he was president and chief executive officer of Georgia Power Co., Southern Co.'s largest subsidiary. Prior to his position with Georgia Power, he was president and chief executive officer of Southern Company Services Inc.

How do you intend to maintain growth at Southern?

We have exceeded our growth targets for the last couple of years since we spun [off] Mirant. We have been saying that we intended to grow earnings at least 5 percent per year on an earnings-per-share basis. We have been substantially higher than that. We are still planning to produce at least 5 percent earnings growth. One of the significant advantages we have is we are in a region of the country that has had robust population and economic growth in the Southeast, and specifically in the Atlanta area. Even though this part of the country is in a downturn like everywhere else, all of the demographics and all of the data say that the growth is going to come back here. So, even our base business, which is the regulated electric business, is going to have relatively high growth numbers compared to other parts of the country. We are in a competitive generation business that is growing quite rapidly even during the economic downturn, and even with the problems in the IPP business in other quarters, we are still seeing our competitive generation