The New CEO's

Michael G. Morris
Michael G. Morris
Fortnightly Magazine - June 2004


For Public Utilities Fortnightly's 75th Anniversary CEO issue, the magazine looked to the horizon and asked these new captains about the planned course for their companies, and for an entire industry.

In this endeavor, we chose six CEOs believes are the industry's brightest new stars:

Michael G. Morris , CEO, American Electric Power (Ticker:AEP)
Robert B. McGehee , CEO, Progress Energy (Ticker: PGN)
Michael J. Chesser , CEO, Great Plains Energy (Ticker: GXP)
Gary L. Rainwater , CEO, Ameren (Ticker: AEE)
Dennis R. Wraase , CEO, PEPCO (Ticker: POM)
Paul M. Anderson , CEO, Duke Energy (Ticker: DUK)

Although new leaders, these CEOs are industry veterans that cut their teeth within the corporate ranks for decades before rising to the top spots.

While Gary L. Rainwater, CEO of Ameren, has traveled the traditional route, moving through the engineering ranks, many of the new CEOs come from different backgrounds than their predecessors. Michael G. Morris, CEO, American Electric Power (AEP), and Robert B. McGehee, CEO, Progress Energy, are part of a new wave of utility executive that comes with legal backgrounds and diverse energy experience.

McGehee doesn't necessarily believe one discipline should dominate. "I don't know that a [legal background] is necessary. It is something I find valuable. You do look around. [AEP CEO] Mike Morris has a legal background. Certainly, the top people at Dominion, [CEO] Tom Capps and some of the others, have legal backgrounds. So, you are seeing more and more of it. [But] you're still seeing the MBAs. [TXU CEO] John Wilder, [FPL CEO] Lou Hay and [CEO] Wayne Leonard at Entergy have MBA backgrounds."

In fact, Dennis R. Wraase, CEO, PEPCO, comes from the world of finance. Whether utility leaders come from law, engineering, or finance, one thing can be said: Many of the new CEOs have had diverse experiences. Paul M. Anderson, chairman and CEO at Duke Energy, and Michael J. Chesser, chairman and CEO at Great Plains Energy, bring critical outside expertise that address very specific needs of the companies they now lead.

Even as the industry heads into a back-to-basics mode where some utilities dare to be dull, just judging from breadth and knowledge of the new leaders before us, they offer an exciting future for the industry.

We at the , in its 75th year, hope you enjoy this very special CEO forum.

Michael G. Morris

Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, AEP

The Executive

Age: 57
Education: Bachelor of Science and Master of Science, Eastern Michigan University; law degree, cum laude, Detroit College of Law
Board Memberships: U.S. Department of Energy's Electricity Advisory Board; the National Governors Association's Task Force on Electricity Infrastructure; Connecticut Governor's Council on Economic Competitiveness & Technology; Trustee of the Bushnell Overseers and the board of regents of Eastern Michigan University; director of St. Francis Care Inc., Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited, American Gas Association, Spinnaker Exploration, Flint Ink Corp., Webster Financial Corp., and Cincinnati Bell. Past chairman of the board of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association.
Earlier in Career: Chairman, president and CEO of Northeast Utilities System;