PALM BEACH, Fla. (January 11, 2017) – American Electric Power (AEP) Chairman, President and CEO Nicholas K. “Nick” Akins today was awarded the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI’s) Distinguished Leadership Award by his industry peers for his years of significant contributions and commitment to the electric power industry.
"We are pleased to present this award to Nick Akins in recognition of his outstanding leadership and dedication to the electric power industry,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “AEP and our industry are in the midst of a major transformation, and Nick is focused on delivering the energy future customers want and expect.”
“Nick is a leader of the highest character, and I am grateful for his service and commitment to our industry as past chairman of EEI and for his continued involvement and engagement as we navigate our industry’s ongoing transition,” said EEI Chairman Tom Fanning, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company.
The award, established to recognize outstanding individual achievement, was presented during EEI’s winter CEO and board of directors meeting. Akins is the ninth industry CEO to receive the award.
Akins was elected president of AEP in December 2010, CEO in October 2011, and chairman in December 2013. Prior to being elected president of AEP, he served as executive vice president of Generation from 2006 until 2010, and was president and COO for the AEP-owned Southwestern Electric Power Company from 2004 until 2006. Prior to this, Akins served as vice president of Energy Marketing Services and vice president of Industry Restructuring for AEP. He began his tenure with the company in 1982. Akins served as EEI chairman from June 2015 until June 2016, and is currently on EEI’s executive committee.
Among his many accomplishments, Akins led the industry’s efforts to develop and implement the framework for the National Response Event (NRE), a coordinated, industry-wide, and enhanced mutual assistance response to a large-scale outage event impacting several regions of the country. As EEI chairman, Akins created a strategic vision for the industry that is focused on grid modernization, clean energy and customer solutions.
"Changes in our industry are being driven by innovation and evolving customer expectations, and Nick has played a major role in how our industry is adapting to new policies, technologies and demands from our customers," said PG&E Corporation Chairman, CEO and President Tony Earley. “Nick is truly dedicated to our industry and our customers, and he is a great friend and colleague.” Earley received EEI’s Distinguished Leadership Award in 2014.
“Nick’s wealth of experience and willingness to build consensus on tough issues have been tremendously beneficial for our industry,” said Dominion Chairman, President and CEO Tom Farrell. “Nick has also been a great leader in our industry’s efforts to provide new job opportunities for military veterans who have served our country.” Farrell received EEI’s Distinguished Leadership Award in 2013.
Akins is former chairman and current board member of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). In addition, he is a board member of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI); Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership; the Wexner Center for the Arts; the Columbus Partnership; the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation; Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited; Fifth Third Bancorp; OhioHealth; the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum; and the Business Roundtable, where he also serves on the executive committee and as chair of the energy and environment committee.
Akins received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Louisiana Tech University, and completed executive management programs at Louisiana State University, the University of Idaho, and the Reactor Technology Course for Utility Executives at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a registered professional engineer in Texas.