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Sloat Announces Management Team Changes

by on September 27, 2022

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American Electric Power is making several executive leadership changes to better support the company’s strategic priorities. As part of these changes, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) position is being eliminated, and business units that are part of this organization are being reassigned.

Peggy Simmons has been named executive vice president, Utilities, effective immediately. Simmons will report to Julie Sloat, president and chief financial officer. Reporting to Simmons will be:

  • Steve Baker, president and COO of Indiana Michigan Power
  • Stacey Gabbard, vice president, Customer Support
  • Brett Mattison, president and COO of Kentucky Power
  • Marc Reitter, president and COO of AEP Ohio
  • Malcolm Smoak, president and COO of Southwestern Electric Power Company
  • Leigh Anne Strahler, who is being promoted to president and COO of Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO)
  • Judith Talavera, president and COO of AEP Texas
  • Aaron Walker, who is being promoted to president and COO of Appalachian Power Company (APCO)

“Aligning the customer support organization with the operating companies will help ensure that our centralized customer service functions are evolving with the changing needs of our business to support new services and options for our customers,” Sloat said.

“Under Peggy’s leadership, the PSO team achieved the highest customer satisfaction scores in PSO history in 2021 for both residential and commercial customers. They also obtained regulatory approval for PSO’s share of the transformational 1,484 megawatt North Central Energy Facilities wind projects. Peggy’s collaborative leadership style and deep industry knowledge will contribute to our ongoing success as we focus on providing more reliable, cleaner energy and innovative technology solutions to benefit our customers.”

Simmons has been president and COO of PSO since 2018. Previously, she was managing director of transmission asset strategy for AEP, manager of regulatory commodity sourcing for AEP Ohio, and manager of renewable energy in AEP’s competitive business. She joined AEP in 1999 as an energy trading scheduler in commercial operations.

Strahler has been vice president of Regulatory and Finance for AEP Texas since 2018. Previously, she was director of Business Operations Support for APCO. She joined AEP in 2006 as a senior cost control analyst in Generation Engineering Projects & Field Services and has served in a variety of roles including manager of Business Planning & Support Services and project manager/change agent for AEP’s Operations and Performance Transformation group.

Walker has been vice president of Distribution Operations for APCO since 2020. He previously served as plant manager of AEP’s Rockport Plant in Indiana. Walker joined AEP in 2005 as a process engineer and has served in a variety of roles including project & field engineering, project management, generation performance improvement and generation energy production superintendent.

Chris Beam has been named executive vice president, Energy Services, effective immediately. He will report to Sloat. Reporting to Beam will be:

  • Paul Chodak, executive vice president, Generation
  • Mike Granata, vice president, Safety & Health
  • Shane Lies, senior vice president and Chief Nuclear Officer
  • Craig Rhoades, vice president, Supply Chain, Procurement & Fleet Operations
  • Toby Thomas, senior vice president, Energy Delivery

“Chris has extensive experience and proven success transforming organizations for the benefit of our customers. Under his leadership, the Appalachian Power team brought sustainable energy resources to West Virginia and Virginia to support economic development and bring new jobs, including the Nucor steel mill. They also spearheaded legislation to help deliver critical high-speed internet service to rural areas in both states,” Sloat said. “His commitment and success in helping our teams generate and deliver power as safely, efficiently and effectively as possible will benefit our customers as we continue to transform our generation fleet and modernize our transmission and distribution infrastructure.”

Beam has been president and COO of APCO since 2017. Previously, he served as vice president of Projects, Controls & Construction for Generation. He was managing director – Projects & Construction, from November 2010 to January 2013.

Greg Hall has been named executive vice president and chief commercial officer, effective immediately. Hall will continue reporting to Nick Akins, chair and chief executive officer, until Jan. 1, 2023, when he will report to Sloat. Reporting to Hall will be:

  • Joel Jansen, senior vice president, Regulated Commercial Operations
  • Tom Myers, senior vice president, Competitive Commercial Operations
  • Scott Slisher, senior vice president, Competitive Customer Solutions
  • Antonio Smyth, senior vice president, Grid Solutions
  • Open position, Energy Assets

“Greg and his team have been delivering custom energy solutions in the competitive space, including renewable and distributed generation, while our grid solutions team has focused on developing critical infrastructure innovations and clean energy projects to benefit customers served by our regulated operating companies. Aligning these organizations under Greg will help us better leverage the experience and expertise across the company to advance new customer solutions and expand our energy offerings in all the states where we operate,” Sloat said.

Operations and Performance Transformation, led by Ashley Weaver, and Business Operations Performance Assurance, led by Dan Groff, will now report to Therace Risch, executive vice president and chief information & technology officer.

“Realigning these organizations under Therace’s leadership will put AEP’s organizational effectiveness initiatives within one organization to enhance efficiency and facilitate sharing of best practices, process improvements and effectiveness across the organization,” Sloat said.

The executive vice president and COO position is being eliminated. Lisa Barton will remain at AEP with transitional responsibilities, reporting to Nick Akins, until Nov. 1.

“On behalf of the Board and myself, I want to thank Lisa for her important contributions and leadership during her time at AEP. She brought a high level of energy and engagement to help transform strategic areas of our company, including our transmission business and renewable energy investments, and demonstrated a deep commitment to improving our culture and to serving our customers. Lisa’s efforts have enhanced our ability to provide safe, reliable and clean energy to power communities and build value for shareholders. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors,” Akins said.

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