Allen Franklin to become CEO; A.W. “Bill” Dahlberg announces retirement

ATLANTA – The board of directors of Southern Company (NYSE: SO) today elected Allen Franklin chief executive officer effective March 1. Franklin, who currently serves as president and chief operating officer, replaces A.W. “Bill” Dahlberg, who announced he will retire as Southern Company chairman, effective with the spinoff of Mirant Corporation planned for April 2. Franklin will retain his president title in addition to being CEO.

The board also elected Gale Klappa as Southern Company’s chief financial officer, effective March 1. He replaces Larry Westbrook, who announced his retirement following 37 years of service.

In announcing his retirement, Dahlberg said, “I’ve been blessed to contribute to the success of Southern Company throughout my career, and the company is fortunate to now be under the strategic leadership of Allen Franklin. His knowledge of our business and his leadership on critical issues facing our industry make him the natural successor in this dynamic time in our industry.”

Franklin, 56, regarded as one of the industry’s most respected and experienced leaders, has served at Southern Company for 31 years. He has been active on the national level, providing leadership on issues affecting the structure of the electric utility industry and testifying before several Congressional committees on behalf of the industry.

“Southern Company plans to sustain solid revenue and earnings growth by refocusing and capitalizing on the strength of the region we’ve known best for more than 100 years…the `Super Southeast`," said Franklin. "We are ideally positioned to serve the nation’s fastest growing region because of our size, financial strength, low-cost position and reliability. Our vision keeps us focused on sustainable growth, shareholder value and quality customer service.”

Southern Company’s strategic business plan includes goals to:

  • Lead the industry in service and customer satisfaction;
  • Continue to earn top-quartile returns, with earnings-per-share growth of at least 5% a year;
  • Double earnings from the competitive generation business over the next five years;
  • Produce $50 million of net income from energy-related products and services over the next five years.

Prior to his position as president and chief operating officer of Southern Company in 1999, Franklin served as president and CEO of Georgia Power from 1994 to 1999. He joined Southern Company Services in 1970 as an engineer and gained experience in several engineering and management positions at SCS and Alabama Power before being named senior vice president of Alabama Power in 1981. He returned to SCS in 1983 as executive vice president and was named president and CEO of that subsidiary in 1988.

He is chairman of Edison Electric Institute`s CEO Steering Committee on Industry Structure. He serves as chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and immediate past president of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Franklin is chairman of Central Atlanta Progress. He is a director on several boards, including: the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America; the Georgia Department of Industry Trade and Tourism; and the national board of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Commenting on his predecessor`s lifetime of professional achievements, Franklin said, “We owe Bill Dahlberg a debt of gratitude for having a vision, taking the risk and delivering on the promise to create value for Southern Company shareholders."

Under Dahlberg’s guidance, Southern Company grew from a regional electric utility company operating in the Southeast to an international energy company with operations in 12 countries on five continents. The growth of Mirant Corporation, the international and domestic operations business unit the company plans to spin off in April, occurred under Dahlberg’s leadership. He will remain on Mirant’s board of directors as chairman.

"Bill also created `Southern Style,` a list of behaviors and values that has become the hallmark of business conduct at Southern Company," said Franklin. "The impact he has on our company`s corporate culture will remain one of his greatest legacies."

Dahlberg, 60, joined Southern Company as a meter installer at Georgia Power in 1960 and worked his way through the organization, holding positions in several areas, including customer accounting and corporate finance, before being named vice president of financial services. He also served as vice president of bulk power resources and senior vice president of marketing at Georgia Power. Later, he moved to Southern Company Services as senior vice president with responsibility for marketing, rates and governmental affairs. He became president and CEO of Southern Company Services in 1985 and returned to Georgia Power three years later as president and CEO. He became president of Southern Company in 1994 and chairman and CEO in March 1995.

Klappa, 50, who joined Southern Company in 1974, currently serves as chief strategic officer and is responsible for all strategic planning and marketing activities. He was president and chief executive officer of Western Power Distribution (SWEB) in Bristol, England, from 1995 until 1998, when he returned to the United States to be president of Mirant`s North America Group. He was named to his current position in 1999. From 1992 to 1995, Klappa served as senior vice president of marketing at Georgia Power, Southern Company’s largest subsidiary. He also directed the company’s efforts in economic development and electric vehicle research. His 26-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.

Westbrook, 61, joined Southern Company in 1964. He held management positions in finance and accounting and was named vice president, secretary and treasurer for Georgia Power in 1980. The following year, he was promoted to senior vice president and from 1982-1986, he served as senior vice president of accounting and finance for Georgia Power. Westbrook was named executive vice president and chief financial officer of Southern Company in 1986 and in that role he had responsibility for the accounting, finance, tax, investor relations, treasury and risk management functions.

Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is an international energy company that operates more than 48,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity worldwide. It is one of the largest producers of electricity in the United States and one of the world’s largest independent power producers. Southern Company subsidiaries and their affiliates serve 12 million retail customers worldwide and millions more through the wholesale market. Based in Atlanta, Southern Company is the parent firm of Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power, Savannah Electric and Mirant. Southern Company also provides energy-related marketing, risk management and technical services in the United States and Europe and offers Southern LINC wireless telecommunications.

Media Note: Bios, photos and video of Dahlberg and Franklin are available by contacting the phone number or email above.

Forward-looking Statements Note: Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risk and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning the distribution of Mirant shares and the timing and results of that distribution and the listed strategic goals for Southern Company, including earnings goals. Southern Company cautions that there are factors that can cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Southern Company; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such indicated results will be realized.

The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Southern Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended, December 31, 1999, and subsequent securities filings, could cause results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the impact of recent and future federal and state regulatory change, including legislative and regulatory initiatives regarding deregulation and restructuring of the electric utility industry and also changes in environmental and other laws and regulations to which Southern Company and its subsidiaries are subject, as well as changes in application of existing such law and regulations, current and future litigation, including the EPA civil action against Alabama Power, Georgia Power and potentially other subsidiaries of Southern Company and the diversity litigation against certain subsidiaries of Southern Company; the effects of increased competition in the markets in which Southern Company’s subsidiaries operate; the impact of fluctuations in commodity prices, interest rates and customer demand; internal restructuring or other restructuring options that may be pursued; potential business strategies, including acquisitions or dispositions of assets or businesses, which cannot be assured to be completed or beneficial to Southern Company or it subsidiaries; the effects of, and changes in, economic conditions in the areas in which Southern Company’s subsidiaries operate; financial market conditions and the results of financing efforts; the timing and acceptance of Southern Company’s new product and service offerings; the ability of Southern Company to obtain additional generating capacity at competitive prices; weather and other natural phenomena; developments in the California power markets affecting Mirant and certain of its subsidiaries, including, but not limited to, governmental intervention, deterioration in the financial condition of counterparties, default of receivables due, adverse results in current or future litigation and adverse changes in the tariffs of the California Power Exchange Corporation or the California Independent System Operator Corporation; and the ability of Southern Company to obtain the supplemental ruling from the Internal Revenue Service regarding the spinoff.