Akron, Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp. announced March 8 that Steven E. Strah has been named the company’s new CEO. He has also joined the company’s board of directors.
Strah has served as acting CEO since October 2020, and as president, a position he continues to hold, since May 2020.
“Steve has consistently demonstrated the leadership skills, strategic acumen and deep knowledge of our business needed to position FirstEnergy for long-term stability and success,” said Donald T. Misheff, non-executive chairman. “Since his appointment as acting CEO, he has taken meaningful steps to put FirstEnergy on the right path forward, including ensuring a renewed emphasis on compliance and transparency throughout the company, laying out his strategy, including through FE Forward, to transform the company, and working to reduce regulatory uncertainty affecting the company’s Ohio utilities. The board has full confidence in Steve and believes this is the right time for him to take the CEO role as we execute on the company’s strategic priorities for the benefit of all stakeholders and drive enhanced value for shareholders.”
FE Forward is a new company initiative to improve operations, enhance customer service and enhance productivity. By 2024, the program is projected to generate approximately $300 million in annual capital expenditure efficiencies while continuing to hold operating expenses flat by absorbing approximately $100 million in projected increases.
“During my time leading the company as acting CEO, I have worked alongside the board and the rest of the management team to address the challenges facing the company and ensure FirstEnergy stands on solid financial, operational, and regulatory footing,” Strah said. “Moving forward, we remain focused on driving strong performance, engaging constructively with regulators and our other stakeholders, and fostering a culture of uncompromising integrity and ethical behavior, starting from the top. I appreciate the Board’s confidence in me and in our management team as we continue to implement the company’s strategy and deliver the safe and reliable electric service FirstEnergy’s customers depend on every day.”
The board of directors and the executive management team under Strah’s leadership have acted with a sense of urgency to address current challenges and are implementing key initiatives to enhance shareholder value and reshape FirstEnergy into a more resilient, industry-leading organization of the future. Since being appointed acting CEO, Strah has spearheaded the company-wide FE Forward program that is expected to transform FirstEnergy in a way that provides near-term value while opening new opportunities for longer-term growth. The proactive steps being taken will support the company’s future growth trajectory for the benefit of shareholders and all stakeholders.
“We are confident that these initiatives, which we have developed over the last several months, will strengthen our business and build on the substantial progress we have already made toward our objectives with FE Forward,” Strah said. “We are undertaking a transformation that is intended to enhance value for our shareholders and improve our credit profile while reinvesting in a truly modern and distinctive experience that improves customer service and satisfaction, all of which will put FirstEnergy on the right path forward.”
Strah is a highly respected energy executive, with 36 years of industry experience and a deep understanding of the FirstEnergy business. He oversees FirstEnergy Utilities; Corporate Services and Information Technology; Finance; Product Development, Marketing and Branding; External Affairs; Rates and Regulatory Affairs; and Strategy. He began his career with The Illuminating Company in 1984 and served in a variety of utility leadership roles including regional president of Ohio Edison; vice president, Distribution Support; and senior vice president, FirstEnergy Utilities. He was elected senior vice president and chief financial officer in 2018.