Southern Company announces appointment of general counsel

Southern Company’s Board of Directors has named Stephen A. Wakefield as senior vice president and general counsel. Wakefield will generally oversee legal matters involving Southern Company, including legal advice to the senior management of Southern Company and its board of directors. He will assume his new position in Atlanta next month.

Wakefield, 56, is currently a partner in the Houston office of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, an international law firm. He was previously appointed to federal government energy positions, most recently as general counsel for the U.S. Department of Energy in the Bush administration. He did his undergraduate work and received his law degree from the University of Texas in Austin.

“With the growing complexity of issues facing our industry and the company’s increasing domestic and international expansion, I believe the timing is right to bring in-house some legal expertise at the corporate level,” said Southern Company Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer A. W. Dahlberg. “We’ve had in-house counsel at some of our subsidiary companies for years, and this will give us the same kind of in-house legal expertise at the holding company level.”

Dahlberg said Wakefield will manage the company’s legal services and work with the law firms that are currently providing services to Southern Company and its subsidiaries. “Steve has tremendous depth in the areas of law, government, energy policy and business,” said Dahlberg. “He brings a great combination of experience and leadership to this new position.”

Prior to his current position, Wakefield was general counsel at the U.S. Department of Energy from 1989 to 1991. He’s also served as vice chairman and general counsel of United Energy Resources Inc., a diversified energy company in Houston that was acquired by Occidental Petroleum. He was chairman of the energy section of the Houston law firm of Baker & Botts from 1986 to 1989.

Wakefield served in the U.S. Department of Interior from 1972-1974 as an assistant secretary for energy and minerals and headed the international section of the Federal Energy Office. Before that he was special assistant to the general counsel at the Federal Power Commission, the predecessor agency to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.