COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 25, 2011 – American Electric Power’s (NYSE: AEP) 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.
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.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.
This report made by American Electric Power contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Although AEP believes that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, any such statements may be influenced by factors that could cause actual outcomes and results to be materially different from those projected. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are: Electric load and customer growth; weather conditions, including storms; available sources and costs of, and transportation for, fuels and the creditworthiness of fuel suppliers and transporters; availability of generating capacity and the performance of AEP’s generating plants; the ability to recover regulatory assets and stranded costs in connection with deregulation; the ability to recover increases in fuel and other energy costs through regulated or competitive electric rates; the ability to build or acquire generating capacity when needed at acceptable prices and terms and to recover those costs through applicable rate cases; new legislation, litigation and government regulation including requirements for reduced emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, carbon and other substances; timing and resolution of pending and future rate cases, negotiations and other regulatory decisions (including rate or other recovery for new investments, transmission service and environmental compliance); resolution of litigation (including pending Clean Air Act enforcement actions and disputes arising from the bankruptcy of Enron Corp.); AEP’s ability to constrain its operation and maintenance costs; AEP’s ability to sell assets at acceptable prices and on other acceptable terms, including rights to share in earnings derived from the assets subsequent to their sale; the economic climate and growth in its service territory and changes in market demand and demographic patterns; inflationary trends; its ability to develop and execute a strategy based on a view regarding prices of electricity, natural gas and other energy-related commodities; changes in the creditworthiness and number of participants in the energy trading market; changes in the financial markets, particularly those affecting the availability of capital and AEP’s ability to refinance existing debt at attractive rates; actions of rating agencies, including changes in the ratings of debt; volatility and changes in markets for electricity, natural gas and other energy-related commodities; changes in utility regulation, including membership and integration into regional transmission structures; accounting pronouncements periodically issued by accounting standard-setting bodies; the performance of AEP’s pension and other postretirement benefit plans; prices for power that AEP generates and sells at wholesale; changes in technology, particularly with respect to new, developing or alternative sources of generation and other risks and unforeseen events, including wars, the effects of terrorism (including increased security costs), embargoes and other catastrophic events.