The board of directors of WEC Energy Group announced that effective May 1, Gale Klappa will retire as chief executive officer and become non-executive chairman. As part of the company’s leadership succession plan, Allen Leverett, age 49, will succeed Klappa as chief executive.
“We delivered a decade of strong growth as we’ve modernized the energy infrastructure of the region–investing more than $10.5 billion since 2003 in our electricity and natural gas networks, Klappa said. “And with our acquisition of Integrys last year, we’ve emerged as the leading electric and natural gas utility in the Midwest–known for exceptional reliability, customer satisfaction and financial discipline.”
Upon Klappa’s retirement, Leverett will become the company’s 14th chief executive. Leverett also has been appointed to the board of directors. He has been serving as president of the company since 2013.
“Allen has been a key contributor to our success–first as chief financial officer, then as the leader of our power generation group and most recently as president of the parent firm,” Klappa said. “I’ve known and worked with Allen for more than 20 years. The depth of his experience, his management skills and his focus on execution make him the ideal person to lead our company through a time of continuing change in the energy industry.”
On behalf of the company’s board of directors, John F. Bergstrom, chairman of the board’s succession planning committee, said, “We have great confidence in Allen. He is an extremely capable executive who has worked effectively with our board for years as a key member of our senior team.”
Bergstrom added, “In more than a decade as chief executive, Gale raised the vitality, focus and performance of an enduring American company. He has been an extraordinary leader, and we’re delighted that he will continue to help shape our future and the future of the region as non-executive chairman of our board.”
Klappa joined Wisconsin Energy as president in April 2003. He was elected to the company’s board of directors in December 2003. Prior to joining Wisconsin Energy, he served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Southern Company in Atlanta, Georgia.
Electric Light & Power magazine named Klappa CEO of the Year in January 2012 — recognizing his role in executing the company’s Power the Future plan. In September 2012, Corporate Responsibility magazine named Klappa Responsible CEO of the Year.
He was named 2013 Wisconsin Business Leader of the Year by the Harvard Business School Club of Wisconsin, and in 2015, he was named to Institutional Investor magazine’s All-America Executive team for the sixth consecutive year.
Leverett joined Wisconsin Energy in 2003 as chief financial officer. In May 2004, he was named executive vice president and chief financial officer of Wisconsin Energy and We Energies.
In March 2011, Leverett was named president and chief executive officer of We Generation, the company’s power generation group, with overall responsibility for the company’s electric generation portfolio, fuel procurement, environmental compliance and renewable energy development strategy.
He has served as president of the parent company since August 2013, and he is also responsible for the business operations of the company’s utilities in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota.
Prior to joining the company, Leverett served as chief financial officer and executive vice president of Georgia Power in Atlanta, Georgia.