Longtime President and CEO Marc Gerken Retires After 20 Years of Leadership
COLUMBUS, OH: American Municipal Power, Inc.’s (AMP) Board of Trustees announced today that Jolene Thompson has been named as AMP’s new President and CEO. Thompson takes the reins from longtime President and CEO Marc Gerken, who has led the organization for nearly two decades and announced his retirement in April of 2019. She is the first woman to lead the multi-state nonprofit corporation, which owns and operates electric facilities that provide generation, transmission and distribution of electric power and energy to its members.
“In anticipation of Marc’s retirement, the AMP board enacted a CEO succession planning process, including the creation of a Board search committee, which was established to conduct a nationwide search considering a diverse slate of internal and external candidates,” said Jeff Brediger, AMP chair of the board and chair of the CEO search committee. "Jolene’s ongoing commitment to our members, her decades of experience and the respect she has earned among her peers across the industry made it clear to us that she is the right choice to take AMP into the future.”
Thompson joined AMP in 1990 and has held several leadership roles at the Columbus, Ohio-headquartered organization, which has more than 170 employees. She most recently served as executive vice president of member services and external affairs. In this role, she provided oversight to AMP’s government relations, communications, technical services, environmental affairs, sustainability, risk, insurance, strategic planning and member programs. This included leading the organization’s environmental, safety and North American Electric Reliability (NERC) compliance activities.
During her tenure, Thompson also supervised major human resource and benefit program updates and advocated with state and federal policy makers on behalf of AMP and its members. She led AMP’s launch of a $26-million Efficiency Smart end-use energy efficiency program for subscribing AMP member communities, which achieved 150 percent of its goal during its initial three years of operation.
“I’ve dedicated my career to advocating and supporting the public power business model while expanding and improving the ways AMP supports its members and their customers,” said Thompson. “I appreciate Marc’s mentorship and leadership over the years, and I am energized to have the opportunity to lead AMP in our continued effort to set the bar for public power while developing new and advanced ways to grow and improve the value of our organization and services to our members.”
Thompson is known and respected industry wide, serving as the executive director of the Ohio Municipal Electric Association (OMEA) and as the general manager of the Municipal Energy Services Agency (MESA). Nationally, she serves as chair-elect of the American Public Power Association (APPA) Board of Directors and she has held several roles as an active member of the Transmission Access Policy Study (TAPS) Group Board of Directors. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Otterbein University.
The CEO search was planned and executed over the past several months. An external executive search firm was hired in July of 2019 to work with the Board of Trustees and ensure a smooth hiring process. The committee set forth rigorous qualifications, including sector experience, operational efficiency, collaboration and influence, business and strategic acumen and a drive for results.
Thompson will assume her new role on April 1, 2020. Gerken will remain with AMP as a consultant to assist with the transition.
Marisa Long, Inspire PR Group, marisa@InspirePRgroup.com, 412.877.7592
Emily Hanhart, Inspire PR Group, emily@InspirePRGroup.com, 330.407.0776