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Akins elected CEO of American Electric Power; Morris to remain chair after retirement

by on October 25, 2011

American Electric Power’s Board of Directors has elected Nicholas K. Akins chief executive officer, effective Nov. 12. Akins, who will retain the position of president he has held since Jan. 1, will replace Michael G. Morris when Morris retires as CEO Nov. 11. Akins, 51, has also been elected to AEP’s Board of Directors.

Nick Akins

Morris, who will be 65 on Nov. 11, will continue as executive chairman of AEP’s Board of Directors through Dec. 31, then serve as non-executive chairman of the board. Morris joined the company Jan. 1, 2004, as chairman, president and CEO. Carl English will retire as vice chairman, effective Dec. 31.

“I’m excited by the opportunity to help continue the extraordinary legacy of AEP,” Akins said. “This company has had more than a century of strong financial performance, engineering and operational excellence and public policy leadership. I look forward to working with our talented management team as we build on these characteristics to continue to provide quality service to our customers and an attractive return to our investors.”

“Nick will be an excellent leader for AEP,” Morris said. “I’ve had that honor for the last eight years as our company, our industry and our nation have faced challenges ranging from economic to national public policy to technology. From a company perspective, we have worked to address each challenge in a way that best benefits our customers and our shareholders. But our nation faces difficult decisions on its energy future, decisions that will have a significant impact on our company and industry. Nick is the right person to lead AEP to continued success in this ever-changing environment.”

Prior to being elected president, Akins served as executive vice president – generation for AEP, responsible for all generation activities of AEP’s approximately 38,000 megawatts of generation resources. This included the engineering, construction and operations of fossil and hydro generation, nuclear generation, fuels procurement, emissions and logistics, and other resource initiatives such as new generation, environmental retrofits, and carbon capture and storage. Akins also was responsible for the commercial operations, marketing and trading functions of the company.

Previously, he was president and chief operating officer for Southwestern Electric Power Company, an AEP utility serving approximately 439,000 customers in Louisiana, Arkansas and northeast Texas. Named to this position in 2004, he had authority for distribution operations and a wide range of customer and regulatory relationships.

Prior to this, Akins was vice president – energy marketing services, responsible for directing the activities of Market Development, including the transmission marketing and services functions, and Energy Delivery External Affairs including community affairs, economic development, and advocacy for regulatory and legislative positions within Energy Delivery. Akins also was vice president – industry restructuring for AEP, responsible for enterprise-wide program management for restructuring initiatives in preparation for customer choice in AEP’s various jurisdictions.

Before Central and South West Corp.’s (CSW) merger with AEP, he served in various director and manager roles within CSW and its operating companies involving mergers and acquisitions, industry restructuring, fuels, system dispatch operations and system planning.

Akins received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1982 from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston and a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1986 also from Louisiana Tech. He has completed executive management programs at Louisiana State University, the University of Idaho and the Reactor Technology Course for Utility Executives at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Akins is a registered professional engineer in Texas. He currently serves as vice chairman of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and on the boards of the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, the Greater Columbus Arts Council, the Wexner Center for the Arts and the National Association of Manufacturers.

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