Southern Energy Inc. announces executive promotions and new corporate structure

Southern Energy Inc., a unit of Southern Company, has named Richard J. Pershing chief executive officer of the company’s Americas Group, Frederick D. Kuester chief executive officer of the Asia Group and Barney S. Rush chief executive of the Europe Group.

“These newly formed divisions will allow Southern Energy to make the most efficient use of our staff and resources in our major areas of strategic focus around the world,” Southern Energy President and CEO Marce Fuller said in announcing the new assignments. Fuller also announced that James A. Ward has been named senior vice president for finance and accounting, and Vance N. Booker has been named senior vice president for administration and external affairs.

Kuester and Rush also will become senior vice presidents of Southern Energy. These executives, along with Booker and Ward, will join Fuller, Executive Vice Presidents Pershing and Raymond D. Hill and Senior Vice President Gale E. Klappa on the company’s senior management team. Hill also is Southern Energy’s chief financial officer and chairman of the company’s Consolidated Electric Power Asia subsidiary, and Klappa is responsible for the company’s assets and business development in North America.

“Our decision to expand the senior management team reflects Southern Energy’s continued rapid growth in key energy markets of the world and our strategy of integrating energy trading and marketing operations with the management of our assets,” Fuller said. “Our assets and our trading operations in each geographic region will now be under a single executive.

“All the members of our management team, led by Rick Pershing and Ray Hill, our two executive vice presidents, have played a major role in building Southern Energy into one of the world’s leading energy companies,” Fuller said, noting Pershing’s “leadership in international operations and business development and Ray Hill’s financial expertise and success as CEO of our Asian operations.”

Hill, 52, who previously served as chief executive officer of Consolidated Electric Power Asia, the company’s Hong Kong-based subsidiary, is also chairman of the subsidiary’s board of directors.

Pershing, 52, has been serving as executive vice president for international operations, directing business development and asset management for Southern Energy’s operations around the world. Pershing joined Southern Company in 1971 and served as a financial analyst, executive assistant to the senior vice president of finance, manager of cash budgeting and finance, vice president and treasurer and vice president of human resources at Southern Company’s Georgia Power subsidiary before moving to Southern Energy in 1992. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in finance from Georgia State University and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Development Program at Emory University and the Corporate Finance Management Program at Harvard University.

Rush, 47, has been serving as president of Southern Energy Development – Europe, directing Southern Energy’s business development and expansion efforts in Europe. He also is chairman of the supervisory board of Bewag, the electric utility serving Berlin, of which Southern Energy is a 26-percent owner. Before joining Southern Energy in 1996, Rush was executive vice president for business development and finance at Oxbow Power Corp. He also has been a senior vice president for Lehman Brothers in its project finance, utility and telecommunications group, and has worked at the U.S. State Department and the World Bank. He holds a bachelor’s degree Harvard College and a master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University.

Kuester, 48, has been serving as managing director and CEO of Southern Energy’s Consolidated Electric Power Asia subsidiary, which operates power stations in China and the Philippines. He was vice president for power generation and delivery at Southern Company’s Mississippi Power subsidiary before being named director of the commercial group at Consolidated Electric Power Asia in January 1997. He also has served in a number of management positions at Southern Company, including vice president for investor relations. He joined Southern Company in 1971 and holds a master’s degree in business administration from Samford University and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn University.

Booker, 45, currently serves as Southern Energy’s vice president for administration, responsible for human resources, information resources and corporate services. Since joining Southern Company in 1975, he has been Southern Company’s director of organizational effectiveness and staffing, and he has worked at Georgia Power as manager of corporate performance and in a number of management and finance and accounting positions. He moved to Southern Energy in 1996. Booker holds’ a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in business administration and finance from Georgia State University.

Ward, 46, currently serves as vice president for finance and accounting at Southern Energy, directing the business planning and financial and management reporting functions, including SEC reporting, tax planning, structuring and compliance. He also serves as chief executive of the Southern Energy Finance subsidiary. He joined Southern Company in 1978 and has served in a number of financial management and accounting positions at Georgia Power and at Southern Company Services. He moved to Southern Energy in 1993. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in business administration and accounting from Georgia State University.

Southern Energy Inc. develops, builds, owns and operates power production and delivery facilities and provides a broad range of services to utilities and industrial companies around the world. Southern Energy supplies energy in 10 countries on four continents. Its Southern Company Energy Marketing unit provides energy trading, marketing and financial services and other energy-related commodities, products and services to customers in North America.

Other Southern Energy subsidiaries and affiliates include Southern Energy New York, which owns and operates power stations in the New York metropolitan area; Southern Energy California, which owns and operates power plants in the San Francisco area; Southern Energy New England, which owns and operates power stations in Massachusetts and Maine; Freeport Power Co. in the Bahamas; South Western Electricity in England; EDELNOR, the power producer serving northern Chile; CEMIG, an electric utility in Brazil; the Alicura power station in Argentina; the Power Generation Company of Trinidad and Tobago; the Birchwood power station in Virginia; and the State Line power station in Indiana.

Southern Company (NYSE: SO), the largest producer of electricity in the United States, is also the parent firm of Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power and Savannah Electric.