COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Board of Directors of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) today elected Nicholas K. Akins chairman of the board, effective Jan. 1, 2014. Akins is AEP's president and chief executive officer.
Akins, 53, was named AEP president in January 2011 and named chief executive officer in November 2011 following the retirement of Michael G. Morris, former chairman, president and chief executive officer. Morris will be stepping down as non-executive chair of the AEP board at the end of the year but plans to remain a member of the board until AEP's next annual meeting of shareholders in April 2014.
"Nick has done an outstanding job as chief executive officer over the past two years. The members of the AEP Board of Directors have the highest confidence in his ability to continue to lead AEP and to assume this expanded leadership role," said Thomas E. Hoaglin, AEP's lead director and chair of the board's Committee on Directors and Corporate Governance.
"Mike Morris has provided a decade of extraordinary leadership at AEP for the benefit of the company's employees, customers and shareholders. The expertise, energy and dedication he committed to AEP and the industry throughout his career are immeasurable," Hoaglin said.
"Nick has embraced his new role at the helm of AEP and has made an incredibly smooth transition. He is the right person to lead the company to continued success in this time of dynamic change. It has been an honor to be part of AEP's rich history, but now is the appropriate time for Nick to take a larger leadership role at the company," Morris said.
A career employee with AEP and the former Central and South West Corp., which merged with AEP in 2000, Akins has worked for the company for 31 years. Before being named president and CEO, he was executive vice president – generation for AEP and also served as president and chief operating officer for Southwestern Electric Power Company, an AEP utility serving approximately 524,000 customers in Louisiana, Arkansas and northeast Texas. A Louisiana native, Akins received bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from Louisiana Tech and is a registered professional engineer in Texas.
"It's an exhilarating time to be in the utility business, and I appreciate the confidence that the members of AEP's board have placed in me and the executive team. Mike Morris enhanced AEP's legacy of industry leadership both in technological advancements and in the public policy arena. It's been a privilege and honor to work with Mike and learn from him," Akins said. "I'm looking forward to partnering with the more than 18,000 other AEP employees to ensure that our company's leadership legacy continues as we focus on developing infrastructure that enhances reliability and improves the customer experience," Akins said.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5.3 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 40,000-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 (inArkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP's headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.