WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 9, 2020) – Ben Fowke, chairman and CEO of Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy, today was elected chairman of the board of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the national association of investor-owned electric companies. Also elected were three vice chairmen: Gerard M. “Gerry” Anderson, executive chairman of Detroit-based DTE Energy; Warner Baxter, chairman, president, and CEO of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation; and Pedro Pizarro, president and CEO of Rosemead, Calif.-based Edison International.
The announcement was made during EEI’s June board and annual meeting, which was held virtually. The Institute’s chairmanship rotates on an annual basis, and Fowke succeeds Christopher M. “Chris” Crane, president and CEO of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation.
“On behalf of the entire EEI team, I extend our thanks to Chris Crane for his dedication and leadership as EEI chairman,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “Chris’ focus on resilience, which we define as the ability to prepare, adapt, withstand, and rapidly recover from difficult and changing conditions, helped our industry respond quickly and effectively when the COVID-19 pandemic threat emerged, and will help EEI’s members to be better prepared for all threats to operations. He also set us on a path to continue deepening our industry’s workforce development activities. Throughout this pandemic, we have seen just how critical our workforce is to ensuring that our country can power through this crisis.”
“We are excited to announce today that Ben Fowke was elected EEI Chairman for the 2020-2021 cycle,” added Kuhn. “Ben, who previously served as an EEI vice chairman, is a tremendous leader for our industry, and I am looking forward to continuing our work to advance our industry’s clean energy goals, while at the same time helping our customers and our member companies recover from the coronavirus pandemic. With weeks of civil unrest across the nation, Ben is also committed to finding solutions for racial injustice.”
“Now more than ever, our customers and our communities are dependent on the reliable and affordable energy that America’s electric companies provide, and our industry will play a critical role in the nation’s recovery from the pandemic. This industry must also play a role in finding solutions for racial inequity with ongoing dialogue on how we can make a difference,” said Fowke. “Despite all the uncertainties right now, our commitment to clean energy remains clear. EEI's member companies collectively have reduced their carbon dioxide emissions 45 percent below peak 2005 levels, and we are on a path to reduce carbon emissions at least 50 percent by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050. Research and development of clean energy technology will be critical to helping us achieve our goals, and investments in new technologies will create future innovations to accelerate the clean energy transition.”
Kuhn also praised the vice chairs who will support Fowke as part of the leadership team.
“Gerry is a champion for our industry, and we are fortunate to have him continue serving as a vice chairman,” said Kuhn. “We also are excited to welcome Warner and Pedro to the EEI leadership team. This is an extremely talented group of leaders, all of whom are committed to delivering a smarter, stronger, and more secure energy future for the customers and communities we serve.”
Ben Fowke is chairman and CEO of Xcel Energy, which provides electricity for 3.6 million customers and natural gas for 2 million customers in eight western and midwestern states. He became chairman, president, and CEO for the company in 2011 after serving in the role of president and chief operating officer since 2009.
Prior to being named president and COO in 2009, Fowke held a variety of executive positions at the company, including vice president and chief financial officer. He previously was vice president and CFO of Energy Markets, where he was responsible for the financial operations of the company's commodities trading and marketing business unit. Prior to joining Xcel Energy, Fowke served 10 years with NextEra, which was then FPL Group, Inc., where he held various management positions. He also has held positions outside the energy industry with DWG Corp. and KPMG.
Fowke serves on the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC), representing the energy industry. The NIAC is a private-public partnership that advises governmental agencies on how to mitigate risk and ensure the integrity of the country’s critical infrastructure. He is also a principal with the American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC), an organization working to foster strong economic growth, create jobs in new industries, and reestablish America’s energy technology leadership.
Fowke currently serves on the board of directors of the Nuclear Energy Institute, Energy Insurance Mutual, Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, and Securian Financial Group. In the community, Fowke is chairman of the Minnesota Business Partnership and is an advisory board member of the Metropolitan Economic Development Association. He is also active with local charities including the Kurt B. Seydow Dystonia Foundation and helps students with career and college readiness with the Itasca Project.
Fowke earned a Bachelor of Science in finance and accounting from Towson University.
Gerry Anderson is executive chairman of DTE Energy, a diversi?ed energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. DTE Energy’s operating units include an electric company serving 2.2 million customers in southeastern Michigan and a natural gas company serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. The DTE Energy portfolio also includes energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading.
Anderson joined DTE Energy in 1993 and held various senior executive leadership roles throughout the enterprise until being named president in 2004, CEO in 2010, and chairman in 2011. He was the architect and leader of the company’s strategy to focus on operational excellence in the utility business, and to develop its non-regulated businesses. As CEO, he focused on building a positive, highly engaged culture – and on deeply connecting DTE Energy to the communities it serves, enabling it to act as a force for good.
In 2019, Anderson was elected executive chairman to serve as an advisor to DTE Energy’s CEO on business issues and to focus on the company’s community, state, federal, and broader industry roles.
Anderson is co-chairman of the EEI Committee on Environment. He is the founder and leader of the Detroit Regional CEO Group. He chairs both the recently formed Detroit Regional Partnership and the Detroit Economic Club. He also chairs Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s business roundtable. In addition, Anderson is involved in various local community and civic activities, including serving on the boards of trustees of The Nature Conservancy (Michigan chapter), the Henry Ford, the McGregor Fund, the Downtown Detroit Partnership, and the West Michigan Policy Forum. He also serves on the board of directors of The Andersons, a publicly traded company.
Prior to joining DTE Energy, Anderson was a senior consultant at McKinsey & Co., an international management consulting firm. He earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering at the University of Notre Dame. He also earned an MBA and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan.
Warner Baxter is chairman, president, and CEO of Ameren Corporation, parent company of rate-regulated energy companies that serve more than 2.4 million electric and 900,000 natural gas customers in Illinois and Missouri.
During his nearly 25-year tenure at Ameren, Baxter has served in a variety of leadership roles. He served as executive vice president and Chief Financial Officer from 2001-2009, which include leading the company's strategic planning activities. In 2009, he became president of Ameren Missouri and in 2014, he was named chairman, president, and CEO of Ameren Corporation.
Before joining Ameren in 1995, Baxter served as senior manager in PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP’s national office in New York City, serving as one of the firm’s liaisons with the major accounting standard setting bodies in the United States. From 1983 to 1993, Baxter worked in the firm’s St. Louis office, where he provided auditing and consulting services to clients in a variety of industries, including the energy industry.
Baxter serves on the board of the Electric Power Research Institute (and is a past chairman of the board) as well as on the management committee of The Edison Foundation's Institute for Electric Innovation. He also serves on the board of directors of US Bancorp and BJC Healthcare. In addition, Baxter is chairman of Civic Progress St. Louis and is a director for Alliance STL.
He also is actively involved with several charitable organizations, including as a council member of the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer National Board, and is a past chair and current council member of the St. Louis Chapter of CEOs Against Cancer of Missouri.
Baxter earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Missouri–St. Louis and has made meaningful and long-lasting contributions to higher education through his involvement with the University of Missouri System. He is a member of the University of Missouri–St. Louis Chancellors Council and serves on the University of Missouri 100 Board.
Pedro J. Pizarro is president and CEO of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the nation’s largest electric companies. Edison International also is the parent company of Edison Energy, a portfolio of competitive businesses providing commercial and industrial customers with energy management and procurement services. Pizarro is a member of Edison International’s Board of Directors.
Pizarro served as president of SCE from October 2014 through May 2016, when he was elected president of Edison International. He was elected CEO in October 2016. Previously, Pizarro was president of Edison Mission Energy (EME) and chaired its board of directors from 2011 until the sale of its assets to NRG Energy in April 2014. EME, a subsidiary of Edison International at the time, was an independent power producer that owned, leased, operated, and sold energy and capacity from electric power generation facilities, and engaged in hedging and energy-trading activities in competitive power markets. Pizarro joined Edison International in 1999, moved to SCE in 2001, and progressed through several leadership roles prior to joining EME.
Prior to his work at Edison International and SCE, Pizarro was a senior engagement manager with McKinsey & Company in Los Angeles, providing management consulting services to energy, technology, engineering services, and banking clients. There, he developed corporate strategy, handled mergers and acquisitions, and oversaw operational and organizational engagements.
Pizarro has served on the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI’s) Board of Directors since 2016 and became chair of the board in April 2020. He also serves on the boards of Argonne National Laboratory, and California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He has served on the boards of the Electric Power Supply Association, California Power Exchange, Colburn School, House Research Institute, Southern California Leadership Council, and Western Energy Institute.
Pizarro represents the electric industry on the U.S. Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) and co-chairs the SEAB Innovation Working Group. The SEAB provides advice and recommendations to the U.S. Secretary of Energy on energy policy, research and development, and economic and national security policy. Pizarro also serves on the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, which is the principal liaison between the federal government and the electric power industry to prepare for and respond to national-level disasters or threats to critical infrastructure.
Pizarro earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from Caltech and held National Science Foundation and Department of Defense graduate fellowships. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Harvard University.