Georgia Power today announced that Chris Womack will assume the roles of chairman and CEO, effective June 1. He will now officially lead the company as chairman, president and CEO. Womack succeeds Georgia Power Chairman and CEO Paul Bowers; whose retirement is also effective June 1. For more than a decade, Bowers has led Georgia Power to a premier position in the industry, from storm response and customer satisfaction, to the growth of a diverse fuel portfolio and a deep commitment to the communities the company serves.
"As I shared eight months ago when I came back to Georgia Power, it is an exciting time to be a part of this company. We're not only making history as we move closer to bringing online the first new nuclear units in the U.S. in decades, we're also growing and evolving as a company," said Chris Womack, president of Georgia Power. "We're focused on finding new, innovative ideas and energy solutions that we believe will help build a sustainable energy future for our state and bring incredible value to our customers. Our company has a legacy of providing world class customer service and reliability to Georgians, and we are committed to continuing that great work."
"Furthermore, our company, our communities and our country are all engaged in important work around social justice and racial equity. We will continue to stand together with our neighbors to address these issues because we want to be a part of shaping a future where all Georgians can thrive. Every day our team works to be a positive force in our communities in so many ways, whether it's financial investments or volunteerism, because we believe that together we can make a bigger impact. I'm excited to see us continue and grow those efforts," added Womack.
The announcement comes as the company is poised to make history with the first new units in the U.S. in decades at the Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear expansion project. The new units will be a reliable, carbon-free energy source for the next 60 to 80 years and an essential part of supporting Southern Company's, Georgia Power's parent company, goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company also continues to invest in a diverse generation fleet, helping solidify a sustainable energy future for Georgia. It already has one of the largest voluntary renewable portfolios in the country and expects to grow its renewable generation by more than 72 percent by 2025 – increasing its total renewable capacity to 22 percent.
These investments into the generating fleet are just part of the smart investments the company is making to ensure a reliable and resilient power grid. Georgia Power will continue its focus on upgrading transmission and distribution infrastructure across the power grid to decrease the number and length of power outages experienced by customers. These efforts are aimed at enhancing service and reliability in communities across Georgia.
Additionally, the company plans to continue investing into communities, including investing and engaging in the dialogue to make a lasting, impactful change in equity across the state. On Monday, Georgia Power announced the company and the Georgia Power Foundation are committing to invest $15 million annually from 2021-2025, $75 million over the five-year period, to help advance racial equity and social justice efforts in Georgia. The social justice funding supports initiatives focused on education equity, criminal justice reform and economic empowerment.
"I am supremely confident Chris is the type of extraordinary person to lead Georgia Power," said Tom Fanning, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company. "His depth of experience across our system, the energy industry as a whole, and his record of public service within Atlanta, the state of Georgia, the entire Southeast and nationally will prove to be incredibly valuable as Georgia Power continues to provide clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy for millions of Georgians. I look forward to working with Chris as he bolsters Georgia Power's great legacy of service and citizenship."
Womack joined Southern Company in 1988 and has held several leadership positions within the company and its subsidiaries, serving as executive vice president of external affairs at Georgia Power and senior vice president and senior production officer of Southern Company Generation, where he was responsible for coal, gas, and hydro generation for Georgia Power and Savannah Electric. Prior to being named president of Georgia Power, he served as executive vice president and president of External Affairs for Southern Company since 2009, leading overall external positioning and branding efforts including the company's public policy strategies and overseeing the company's governmental and regulatory affairs, corporate communication initiatives and other external and strategic business engagements. Womack has also served as senior vice president of human resources and chief people officer at Southern Company, as well as senior vice president of public relations and corporate services at Alabama Power. Prior to joining Southern Company, Womack worked for the U.S. House of Representatives for then Congressman Leon E. Panetta.
He is a member of the board of directors of Essential Utilities, Inc. He currently chairs the board of the East Lake Foundation, is on the national board of The First Tee and is the chair of the board for the Alliance to Save Energy. Womack has chaired the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau board and the Atlanta Sports Council. He has also chaired the board for Communities in Schools of Georgia and served as a member of the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta board. He has received numerous honors, including the SCLC Leadership Award (1998).
A native of Greenville, Alabama, Womack holds a bachelor's degree from Western Michigan University and a master's degree from The American University. He completed the Stanford Executive Program and is a member of the Leadership Atlanta class of 2000 and the Leadership Birmingham class of 1990.
As the coronavirus continues to spread, Georgia Power wants to assure our customers that we have comprehensive plans in place to continue our operations.