ATLANTA, Dec. 8, 2003 — Following Southern Company’s December board meeting, Chairman, President and CEO Allen Franklin announced the company’s succession and management transition plan. As part of that plan, Franklin announced that he would be retiring in July 2004.
Franklin also announced that the Southern Company board of directors elected David M. Ratcliffe as a member of the board. Ratcliffe, currently president and chief executive officer of Georgia Power, will continue to serve as CEO of Georgia Power until April 2004, when he will become president of Southern Company. Ratcliffe will become chairman and chief executive officer of Southern Company in July 2004.
As part of the succession plan, the Georgia Power board today elected Mike Garrett, currently president and chief executive officer of Mississippi Power, president of Georgia Power effective Jan. 1, 2004. He will become CEO of Georgia Power in April 2004.
In Gulfport, the Mississippi Power board elected Anthony Topazi to replace Garrett as president and chief executive officer effective Jan. 1, 2004. Topazi currently serves as executive vice president of Southern Company’s generation and energy marketing group.
Franklin, 59, has been with the company for 33 years. He said succession planning is a continuous process at Southern Company and that the timing for this transition has been in place for more than a year. “It was simply the right time for me and a good time for the company,” said Franklin.
“This is a wonderful company and we’re stronger than we’ve ever been – both operationally and financially. Not only have we achieved all of our business goals, we’ve built an incredibly strong management team that will keep this company moving forward for many years to come.”
Franklin, who will retire from the board in July 2004, had praise for his successor, David Ratcliffe.
“David’s been involved in planning and implementing the Southern Company strategy at every step. He has exceptional business judgment and is a great team builder. The company’s strategic direction will not change under his leadership, and David will carry on our success with the same disciplined and conservative management style.”
Ratcliffe, 55, has 32 years of experience at Southern Company, having served as CEO of both Georgia Power and Mississippi Power and also as chief financial officer of Georgia Power. Ratcliffe also served as executive vice president for system operations, fuel, research and environmental affairs and marketing for Southern Company Services and as senior vice president for external affairs, where he had responsibility for the company’s governmental affairs activities in Washington.
He began his career with Southern Company as a biologist for Georgia Power in 1971. Ratcliffe is a native of Tifton, Ga., and a graduate of Valdosta State University.
Mike Garrett, 54, the incoming president of Georgia Power, also is a Georgia native. Garrett’s 35-year career at Southern Company began as an entry-level co-op student while still in college, and includes significant experience in customer operations and customer service at both Georgia Power and Alabama Power. Prior to assuming his current role as president and CEO of Mississippi Power in 2001, Garrett served as executive vice president of customer operations at Alabama Power.
“Mike not only has a strong operating background but is very effective externally,” said Franklin. “In his role as CEO of Mississippi Power, Mike was a recognized leader in economic development in the state of Mississippi. Mike will be a valuable addition to Georgia’s business leadership.”
Anthony Topazi, 53, is a 34-year veteran of the company who is currently serving as executive vice president of the generation and energy marketing group. “Anthony has gained extensive experience in operations and customer service during his 30 years with Alabama Power,” said Franklin. “He has a strong experience base in economic development and was a key leader in Alabama’s successful recruitment of the Mercedes plant. Anthony will quickly engage in Mississippi’s economic development activities.”
Franklin said the company’s business strategy has been focused on the basics. “This strategy has led to the company having some of the industry’s best performance in areas such as customer satisfaction, reliability and price competitiveness.”
Franklin said he expects the new management transition to be seamless and the implementation of this successful strategy to continue. “This succession plan will ensure a continuity of strategy and performance at Southern Company,” he said. “These individuals are indicative of the wealth of management talent we’ve built over the past several years – talent that, I believe, is unmatched in our industry.”
The Southern Company website is www.southerncompany.com .
With 4 million customers and nearly 39,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company is a super- regional energy company in the Southeast and a U.S. producer of electricity.
Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states, a growing competitive generation company, an energy services business and a competitive retail natural gas business, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are 15 percent below the national average.