ATLANTA In a move designed to strengthen strategic planning for the rapidly growing Southern Company, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer A.W. Bill Dahlberg has named Gale Klappa senior vice president and chief strategic officer.
The 49-year-old Klappa has served as president and chief executive officer of Southern Companys South Western Electricity subsidiary in England and more recently he has been president of Southern Energys North America Group. Dahlberg said Klappas experience in competitive markets nationally and internationally makes him well qualified to become a key shaper of Southern Companys future.
In this new position, Klappa will report directly to Dahlberg.
Gale is one of our brightest thinkers. Hes got a great imagination and a strong sense about where were headed as a company, Dahlberg said. Mixed with that creativity is a strong analytical mind able to answer the tough questions challenging our business.
Rick Pershing, a Southern Energy executive vice president and management council member and president of the Americas Group, will now take an even more active role in managing Southern Energys North American generation business. Pershing, to whom Klappa currently reports, has been involved in all facets of the North American business since its inception.
Both Gale and Rick have been instrumental in laying the foundation for our competitive energy supply business in North America, Dahlberg said. At Southern Company, well benefit from Gales experience, and Rick will provide the continuity for ongoing success in a business that is very important to Southern Companys overall strategy.
Klappa was president and chief executive officer of South Western Electricity (SWEB) in Bristol, England, from 1995 until December 1998, when he returned to the United States to be president of the North America Group. SWEB, which Southern Energy owns in partnership with PP&L Resources, distributes electricity to 1.3 million customers in southwest England. Under Klappas leadership, SWEB accomplished a major turnaround in operations and financial performance. In the area of customer service, SWEB went from worst to first in a national ranking of customer satisfaction.
From 1992 to 1995, Klappa served as senior vice president of marketing at Georgia Power, Southern Companys largest subsidiary. He also directed the companys efforts in economic development and electric vehicle research. His 25-year career in the energy industry has also included managerial assignments in external affairs, pricing, forecasting, consumer research and sales to commercial, industrial and residential customers.
Klappa earned a bachelors degree in mass communications from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1972.
Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is an international energy company with more than $35 billion in assets through regional utilities and operations around the world. It is the largest producer of electricity in the United States and one of the worlds leading independent power producers. Based in Atlanta, Southern Company is the parent firm of Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power and Savannah Electric. Through its Southern Energy Inc. subsidiary, Southern Company supplies electricity in 10 countries on four continents and has a growing presence in North America with assets in the Northeast, the Midwest, California and Texas. Southern Company also provides energy-related marketing, trading and technical services and offers Southern LINC wireless telecommunications.