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Part 1 of 2: Interview with Tom Fanning, Chairman and CEO of Southern Company

Leadership Lyceum: A CEO's Virtual Mentor

Release Date: 09/26/2016

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This is Part 1 of a 2 part interview with Tom Fanning, Chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based Southern Company (http://southerncompany.com ).  If you are joining us by linking over from my recent feature article on Mr. Fanning in trade-publication Public Utilities Fortnightly (https://www.fortnightly.com ), welcome to our podcast. 

Southern Company has $18 billion in annual revenues and is the second largest utility in the US, with 9 million gas and electric customers in 9 states.  Tom Fanning has been Chairman and CEO since December of 2010. 

Tom has been very active in industry leadership. He is serving as EEI Chairman this year and is Chairman of the Electricity Sub-Sector Coordinating Council, the principal liaison between the electric sector and the federal government for coordinating efforts against cyber threats and physical terrorism. Moreover, Southern Company, under Tom’s leadership, is taking positions across a curiously wide spectrum of the nation’s energy value chain.

I joined Tom Fanning in his office in Atlanta for this conversation on August 10th 2016. Part 1 of our discussion will reveal his rationale for Southern’s investment activities and his vision and leadership in actuating it.  Southern Company has been building and buying in key areas including nuclear, renewables, natural gas, clean coal, and energy efficiency. If Southern’s sweeping strategic activity raises questions in the observance, Tom’s answers both illuminate Southern’s vision and illustrate the characteristics of his leadership. 

We sorted through what Tom calls his “All of the Above” approach by addressing Southern’s areas of investment one by one.  

 

More about Southern Company http://southerncompany.com,

Ticker:NYSE: SO (https://www.nyse.com/quote/XNYS:SO )

More about Tom Fanning: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_A._Fanning

Subscribe to the podcast at iTunes: https://t.co/a70rtSiQnW or SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/thomas-linquist

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Please subscribe to the Leadership Lyceum at iTunes which will enable future content to come to you automatically.  Rate us and spread the word among your fellow executives and board colleagues.

 

Program Guide

 Part 1 of 2 Tom Fanning Interview

0:31       Introduction to Part 1 and Tom Fanning, Chairman and CEO of Southern Company

3:27       Sorting the All of the Above Strategy in Parts: Nuclear

5:56       Sorting the All of the Above Strategy in Parts: Clean Coal

8:36       Sorting the All of the Above Strategy in Parts: Renewables

9:34       Break

9:53       Sorting the All of the Above Strategy in Parts: Natural Gas

12:00      Sorting the All of the Above Strategy in Parts: Energy Efficiency

15.56      Break

16:15      Regulatory Entrepreneurship and Regulatory Constraints to Innovation

17:58      Financial Capacity and Constraints to Southern Company Growth

20:38      Wrap up of Part 1 of 2. Preview of Part 2.

 

Biography on Tom Fanning

Thomas A. (Tom) Fanning has been chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company since 2010. Under Fanning's leadership, Southern Company is focused on continually finding better ways to serve customers and communities with clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy.

With more than 35 years of experience at Southern Company, Fanning also serves as chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and holds senior positions in numerous business and public policy organizations, making him an internationally respected voice on issues ranging from energy innovation and economic growth to cybersecurity.

Fanning is a passionate proponent of a common-sense national energy policy based on developing the full portfolio of energy resources. As such, Southern Company is the only U.S. energy provider investing in nuclear, 21st century coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency. Through its subsidiaries, Southern Company is leading America's nuclear renaissance by constructing two state-of-the-art units in Georgia, building an innovative coal gasification facility in Mississippi and has added or announced more than 4,000 megawatts of renewable energy since 2012. Following the completion of its merger with Southern Company Gas (formerly AGL Resources), in July 2016, Southern Company now serves 9 million electric and gas utility customers across the United States.

Building on a legacy of robust, proprietary research and development, Fanning also has challenged Southern Company's 32,500 employees to build the future of energy and develop real solutions that improve peoples' lives.

Fanning says of Southern Company's mission: "In everything we do, our goal is to provide people with ways to better meet their economic challenges, build better communities and seek a better future for their children."

 

Your host Thomas B. Linquist is a Partner at leading global executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles. Over his 15 years in management and leadership consulting he has served a wide array of industrial clients.  This includes leadership assessment and search for chief executive officers, chief financial officers, chief operating officers and boards of directors.  He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and over his 25-year career has served in a variety of roles: as an engineer with Shell Oil Company, a banker with ABN AMRO Bank, and as treasurer was the youngest corporate officer in the 150+ year history at Peoples Energy Company in Chicago.  He is an expert on hiring and promotion decisions and leadership development.  Over the course of his search career, he has interviewed thousands of leaders. 

Please subscribe to the Leadership Lyceum at iTunes which will enable future content to come to you automatically. Rate us and spread the word among your fellow executives and board colleagues.

Copyright 2016 by The Leadership Lyceum LLC