July 18, 2003 — FirstEnergy Corp. announced that Robert F. Saunders, president and chief nuclear officer of its FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co. (FENOC) subsidiary, has elected to retire, effective February 1, 2004.
FENOC Executive Vice President Gary R. Leidich will become president and chief nuclear officer, effective September 1, 2003. Until his retirement, Saunders will continue to work closely with Leidich to ensure a smooth transition, and to assist in the Davis- Besse restoration and related oversight activities.
“Bob helped reorganize FENOC to bring additional senior management oversight to our nuclear operations, as well as to enhance our efficiency through the sharing of resources and personnel among our three nuclear plants,” said FirstEnergy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer H. Peter Burg. “I am confident that Gary will build on the foundation that Bob has helped develop. Gary has extensive background in nuclear matters, including the international and national perspectives he gained during his tenure as executive vice president of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO).”
Saunders, 60, joined FirstEnergy in February 2000, after nearly 30 years in the nuclear power industry. Prior to joining the company, he served as vice president of Nuclear Site Operations at Pennsylvania Power and Light’s Susquehanna Nuclear Site.
A U.S. Navy veteran, Saunders joined Virginia Power in 1975 as an engineer at the Surry Nuclear Power Station. He was named station manager in 1984; assistant vice president of Nuclear Operations in 1990; vice president of Nuclear Operations in 1993; and vice president of Nuclear Engineering in 1996.
Saunders earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He is a Registered Professional Engineer and a member of the American Nuclear Society and the Association of Mechanical Engineers.
Leidich, 53, began his career with The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company (CEI) in 1974 as an associate engineer, and held various supervisory positions involving the engineering, construction and operation of the Perry Nuclear Power Plant from 1975 to 1986.
He was named director of System Planning for Centerior Energy, the parent company of CEI, in 1987, and director of Human Resources in 1991. He was elected vice president of Finance and Administration and chief financial officer in 1993, and president of the Power Generation Group in 1995, a position he held until the 1997 merger of Centerior Energy and Ohio Edison that created FirstEnergy.
In 1998, Leidich became executive vice president of INPO. He rejoined FirstEnergy in his current position in June 2002.
Leidich received his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and master of science degree in engineering science, both from The University of Toledo. He completed the Public Utilities Executive Program at the University of Michigan in 1988.
Leidich is a member of the American Nuclear Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and is a Registered Professional Engineer in Ohio.
FirstEnergy Corp. is a registered public utility holding company headquartered in Akron, Ohio. Its FENOC subsidiary operates the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station, the Perry Nuclear Power Plant and the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station.