Tom Fanning, Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO, has been awarded the Edison Electric Institute's (EEI's) Distinguished Leadership Award by his industry peers for his significant contributions and commitment to the electric power industry.
In accepting the award, Fanning thanked EEI for the honor and noted that at Southern Company, and the industry as a whole, we are citizens wherever we serve.
"I'm always proud to say that this industry offers people hope. Because we are successful at delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy, we help people in a very profound way," Fanning said. "We are so privileged to serve the communities in which we live and those communities are better off because we are there. There is no higher calling than that."
The award, established to recognize outstanding individual achievement, was presented during EEI's fall CEO and board of directors meeting. Fanning is only the 10th industry CEO to receive the award.
Fanning was elected president by Southern Company in August 2010 and assumed the additional responsibilities of chairman and CEO in December 2010. Prior to being elected president, he worked for Southern Company for more than 35 years and has held 15 different positions in eight different business units, including numerous officer positions with a variety of Southern Company subsidiaries in the areas of finance, strategy, international business development, and technology.
Among his many accomplishments, Fanning is a Co-Chair of the CEO-led Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC). The ESCC is the principal liaison between the federal government and the electric power industry, with the mission of coordinating efforts to prepare for and respond to national disasters and threats to critical infrastructure. Fanning also collaborates with the Tri-Sector Executive Working Group, which was formed by electricity, finance, and communications sectors to enhance national and economic security by developing a cross-sector strategic framework to address existential threats, risk, and consequence management.
"Tom is a terrific leader whose efforts have elevated coordination between the electric power industry and the government to prepare for and respond to national disasters and to better protect the energy grid against physical and cybersecurity threats," said Dominion Energy Chairman, President and CEO Tom Farrell. "Under his leadership, the ESCC was founded and continues to undertake a wide range of security and resiliency initiatives in order to improve the security posture of the energy grid."
"Tom's extensive work to enhance the industry's collaboration with the government in order to defend against threats has been invaluable," said American Electric Power Chairman, President and CEO Nick Akins. "His leadership and dedication have been a catalyst for major initiatives aimed at improving the security of the energy grid."
"In the era of increased cybersecurity threats and impacts from significant weather events, Tom's work has never been more important," said EEI President Tom Kuhn.
In addition to his responsibilities with Southern Company, the ESCC, and the Tri-Sector Executive Working Group, Tom serves on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, where he is the immediate past chairman, and he served as chairman of the Edison Electric Institute from June 2016 to June 2017. He is on the advisory board of the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business, the board of trustees of the Georgia Tech Foundation, the board of directors of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, and the regional governing board of the World Association of Nuclear Operators' Atlanta Centre. Tom also serves on the board of directors of Vulcan Materials Company and is a member of the Business Roundtable. He is the 2018 recipient of the American Football Coaches Foundation's CEO Coach of the Year Award.
Fanning earned bachelor's and master's degrees in industrial management and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree from Georgia Tech. His executive education includes programs at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, Harvard Business School, and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.