FirstEnergy (FE) Announces Steven E. Strah Will Retire as President and CEO, 2022 Outlook Continues to Be “Strong”


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First Energy Corp. (NYSE: FE) today announced that John W. Somerhalder II, Chairman of the Board of FirstEnergy, has been named interim President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective September 16, 2022. The appointment by M. Somerhalder follows Steven E. Strah to retire as President and CEO of FirstEnergy and as a member of the Board of Directors.

Mr. Somerhalder will continue to chair FirstEnergy’s Board of Directors and work closely with the company’s management team. FirstEnergy’s Board of Directors will begin a search for external candidates to identify a permanent CEO. The Board of Directors has completed its previously announced management review.

“I look forward to working with the corporate management team and the dedicated employees of FirstEnergy to continue to deliver exceptional value to our customers and shareholders,” said Mr. Somerhalder. “With the continued support of the Board of Directors, I welcome the opportunity to lead the business through this transition and oversee the continued execution of our strategy to become a more resilient and forward-looking company, positioning business for long-term stability and success.”

“On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Steve for his many contributions and years of service to FirstEnergy and wish him well in his next chapter,” said Lisa Winston Hicks, Independent Lead Director of the Board. from FirstEnergy. “In our search, we will seek to identify a visionary leader to continue to drive strong performance across the business, while continuing to foster an environment of uncompromising integrity and shared responsibility to execute on the company’s strategic priorities. As we lead this search for a permanent CEO position, we are fortunate to have a leader of John’s caliber and experience to take on this role on an interim basis to ensure the company continues to capitalize on its strong momentum.”

“We were encouraged to see the company’s continued efforts to strengthen compliance, operational excellence and its balance sheet,” said Sean Klimczak, Blackstone’s global head of infrastructure and director of FirstEnergy. “They are an important step in FirstEnergy’s journey to provide exceptional customer service and ensure transparency with its partners. We are excited about the growth potential of the business and look forward to continuing our partnership as they build on this momentum.

“With the company’s operational momentum and portfolio of irreplaceable assets, we believe FirstEnergy is well positioned to capitalize on long-term, sustainable investments to meet customer needs while increasing shareholder value.” , said Andrew Teno, portfolio manager of Icahn Capital LP and Director of FirstEnergy. “We look forward to continuing to support the business as it executes its transformation.”

“It has been a great honor to be part of the FirstEnergy family for over 38 years,” said Mr. Strah. “I want to express my gratitude to the extremely dedicated employees, as well as our incredibly talented management team. I believe the future holds great opportunities for this organization.”

Financial update

FirstEnergy’s outlook for 2022 continues to be strong, and the company expects results in the upper half of the guidance range provided to the investment community in its second quarter earnings call in July. Additionally, the company continues to focus on accelerating its balance sheet improvement efforts to achieve credit metrics in line with major utilities. The company plans to achieve this through organic operating cash flow growth, as well as an additional EPS-accelerating transaction involving a minority stake in a transmission or distribution asset.

About John Somerhalder

Mr. Somerhalder, 66, has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors since May 2022 and previously served as Vice Chairman and Executive Director of the Company from March 2021 to May 2022. Prior to joining FirstEnergy, Mr. Somerhalder served as Chairman Acting Chief Executive Officer of CenterPoint Energy, Inc., an electric and natural gas utility serving multiple U.S. markets, from February 2020 to July 2020, and was a member of the CenterPoint Energy Board of Directors from 2016 to July 2020. Mr. Somerhalder also served as interim President and Chief Executive Officer of Colonial Pipeline Company, a U.S. refined products pipeline company, from February 2017 to October 2017. Previously, Mr. Somerhalder served as President and Chief of the management of AGL Resources Inc., an energy services holding company in the Southeastern United States, from March 2006 until his retirement in December 2015, and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of company from November 2007 to December 2015. Prior to joining AGL Resources, Mr. Somerhalder held several positions at El Paso Corporation, a publicly traded supplier of natural gas and related energy products, where he spent nearly 30 years, beginning his career as an engineer and progressing into management roles before being named President of El Paso Pipeline Group and Executive Vice President of El Paso Corporation. Mr. Somerhalder also previously held directorships with Gulfport Energy Corp., Crestwood Equity Partners LP, Enable Midstream Partners, LP and SunCoke Energy Partners GP LLC.

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