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Greenville Business Magazine

Duke Energy Announces Leadership Changes

Nov 19, 2020 01:28PM ● By David Dykes

Duke Energy announced several executive changes, including a newly formed chief generation officer role, to further drive what Duke officials say is the company's ambitious strategy to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The company also named new leaders in the critical areas of corporate security, risk management and ethics and compliance.

The changes are effective Dec. 1, 2020.

Preston Gillespie, currently senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, will become senior vice president and chief generation officer. In this new role, Gillespie will be responsible for integrating the company's nuclear, fossil, hydro and regulated renewable generation strategies to support Duke Energy's target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. A 30-year industry veteran, Gillespie has held a variety of leadership roles across the Duke Energy nuclear fleet, including operations shift manager, operations manager, plant manager, site vice president and senior vice president of nuclear operations.

Kelvin Henderson, currently senior vice president of North Carolina nuclear operations, will replace Gillespie as senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. Henderson has spent more than two decades in the nuclear industry and has a deep knowledge of nuclear operations, given his roles as senior reactor operator, maintenance manager, plant manager and site vice president, company officials said. He also oversaw the company's corporate nuclear operations and will spearhead subsequent relicensing of those carbon-free assets.

Ben Waldrep, currently senior vice president and chief security officer, will assume Henderson's role, leading the North Carolina nuclear operations. This includes managing the operations of Duke Energy's McGuire, Brunswick and Harris nuclear stations. He also managed the company's corporate nuclear operations, overseeing the integration of Progress Energy and Duke Energy's nuclear fleets. Prior to his most recent role, Waldrep had a long history of leading teams in the nuclear industry, with more than 30 years in the energy sector.

Keith Butler, currently senior vice president, global risk management and insurance, chief risk officer and acting chief ethics and compliance officer, will become senior vice president and chief security officer. Butler will bring more than 35 years of experience in risk management, finance, accounting and operations to this leadership role for Duke Energy and the broader energy industry. He will oversee the company's cybersecurity, physical security, threat management and emergency planning functions and integrate with other peer utilities to help ensure critical infrastructure remains well protected, company officials said.

Katie Aittola, currently managing director of supply chain risk, continuous improvement and governance, will become vice president, global risk management and insurance and chief risk officer. Aittola joined Duke Energy in 2009 and her background includes more than a decade in corporate development, financial planning and analysis and supply chain, which company officials said will serve her well as she leads the team responsible for identifying, evaluating and mitigating risks across the company.

Melissa Feldmeier, currently deputy general counsel, will be named vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer. Feldmeier has been a part of Duke Energy's legal team since 2001. She most recently provided legal counsel on human resources matters, advising many senior leaders and being an advocate to oversee Duke Energy's ethics program, data privacy and compliance standards.

"These executives exemplify the diverse, knowledgeable and experienced leadership we value at Duke Energy," said Lynn Good, Duke Energy chair, president and CEO. "Each of these leaders is dedicated to serving our customers, inspiring our people and advancing the company's strategic goals."

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S.

It employs 29,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities and 2,300 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.

The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit's regulated utilities serve 7.8 million retail electric customers in six states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to 1.6 million customers in five states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky.

The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects.