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The CEO Forum: The Ultimate CEOs: J. Wayne Leonard

CEO, Entergy

Fortnightly Magazine - June 2006

a mistake, whether it is a human error or whatever, they think you did it intentionally. And people make mistakes from time to time. Anytime the transmission isn’t available because of the laws of physics, they think you are making it up. So, you want to remove that stigma that hangs over your head as quickly as you can by getting some kind of independent proposal on the table.

That’s where we came up with the ICT proposal. We brought in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which we felt had the expertise to do it, and with which we are obviously interconnected. They are going to do a lot of regional planning with data that they had for their members. They will determine who gets transmission and who doesn’t. They’ll do virtually everything an RTO would do. They don’t have a congestion market, but ICT doesn’t have one either.

We have a weekly procurement process before FERC that will start that process in terms of managing congestion on a weekly basis. We need an hourly congestion market. So, I would hope over the next four years we convince our regulators that this works. It does provide for more transparency. It does provide for more reliability because of regional planning. And it can be done more economically because we will be able to expand the footprint. Maybe Southern Co. or others will do something similar. I hope what happens as far as the end game is we end up with an independent transmission company. I don’t think it will happen in the next four years, or probably while I’m at Entergy, but I hope this is the precursor. I hope we end up with real independent regional transmission companies, maybe just four or five in the country that are the best in the world.

Fortnightly: How do you define leadership?

Leonard: I think the most important thing as a leader of this organization is to create an environment where every employee feels appreciated, every employee feels they have the opportunity to realize their God-given potential, and every employee feels that somewhere in the organization there is somebody that will make sure that the basic principles of justice and compassion are adhered to. I think it is my job as a leader to define the vision for the company, to make sure that it is executed, to make sure that people understand it, to communicate it every day. But more importantly, [it is] to make sure that our values are always lived up to even when [they] conflict necessarily with our vision. That is what people look for at the end of the day. A leader’s role above all else is to make sure the truth is respected.