Chris Womack will become chairman and CEO of Georgia Power on June 1, the company announced Wednesday.
Paul Bowers, who has served as chairman, president and CEO of Southern Co.’s largest electric subsidiary for 11 years, will officially step down the same day.
Womack will be the first African American CEO of Georgia Power, which was founded in 1902. He has served as the company’s president since November 2020, shortly after the leadership transition was announced.
As president, Womack has been responsible for service to the company’s 2.6 million customers in the state along with its economic development, generation, transmission, distribution, energy efficiency, charitable giving and volunteerism efforts.
Womack’s succession of Bowers was initially planned for April and expected to coincide with loading nuclear fuel into the first of Georgia Power’s new reactors, Unit 3, at the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant near Waynesboro.
Delays at site have been exacerbated by the pandemic and the company now hopes to bring that reactor online by November to meet its regulatory deadline. In March, Southern Co. said it was “likely” to miss that in-service date.
He also pointed to improving service, reliability and efficiency as top goals along with “making sure that we are fully engaged in the economies and the communities across the state of Georgia.”
“Partnering with our communities to support economic development activities, but also addressing a whole host of community and social and racial issues across the state,” Womack said.
On May 24, Georgia Power announced the company and the Georgia Power Foundation will invest $75 million over the next five years in advancing racial equity and social justice efforts in Georgia. The funding will support education equity, criminal justice reform and economic empowerment.
Prior to this new role, Womack served as the executive vice president and president of external affairs for Southern Company since 2009.
He joined Southern Co. in 1988 and has held several leadership positions within the company and its subsidiaries, including executive vice president of external affairs at Georgia Power and senior vice president and senior production officer of Southern Company Generation, where he was responsible for coal, gas, and hydro generation for Georgia Power and Savannah Electric.
Womack has also served as senior vice president of human resources and chief people officer at Southern Co., as well as senior vice president of public relations and corporate services at Alabama Power. Prior to joining Southern Co., Womack worked for the U.S. House of Representatives for then Congressman Leon E. Panetta.
He is a member of the board of directors of Essential Utilities, Inc. He currently chairs the board of the East Lake Foundation, is on the national board of The First Tee and is the chair of the board for the Alliance to Save Energy.