President Obama has nominated Mike McWherter, the 2010 Democratic nominee for Tennessee governor, to fill one of five current vacancies on the TVA Board of Directors.
Obama also nominated V. Lynn Evans, a Memphis accountant, and Joe H. Ritch, a Huntsville, Ala., attorney, as new members of the board while proposing to give Marilyn A. Brown, a current board member whose term has expired, a new term on the nine-member panel.
The president in February had nominated Peter Mahurin of Bowling Green, Ky., to a TVA board seat, but Mahurin’s nomination has not been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The four nominations announced Friday in a White House news release are also subject to Senate confirmation.
The nominations come with the Senate planning to recess until after the November election and with Tennessee’s U.S. Sen. Bob Corker declaring the “entire TVA governance structure” should be re-examined with an eye toward reform.
They also come with the TVA board facing the task of selecting a new CEO to replace Tom Kilgore, whose announced retirement takes effect at the end of the year..
Corker complained last month that only one current member of the TVA board – Chairman Bill Sansom of Knoxville – has any real corporate board experience. He said in an interview that presidents of both political parties have paid relatively little attention to TVA compared to its importance to the region and the process of selecting board members is too political.
“I know they’re trying to find folks who fit various political ilks,” the senator said of the appointment process. “The administrations of both stripes really do not care much about TVA…. I don’t really care what political background they (board members) have, just make sure they have the qualifications.”
Corker issued a two=sentence statement after the White House announced the latest nominations:
“TVA, an $11 billion a year entity, is one of the largest utilities in the nation, and I believe it is critical that it have an appropriate number of directors with strong corporate board experience. I look forward to meeting these four nominees to learn more about their backgrounds and what qualifies them to serve in these important roles.”
McWherter, son of the late former Gov. Ned McWherter, lost to Republican Bill Haslam in the 2010 gubernatorial election. He is the owner and president of Central Distributors Co. and Volunteer Distributing Co. of Jackson, which are wholesalers of beer and other beverages.
“I have visited every county in Tennessee and have seen firsthand how vitally important TVA is to the development and retention of jobs in the areas served by TVA,” McWherter said in a statement to the Jackson Sun. “TVA powers millions of homes and businesses across the Southeast and plays a critical role in economic development efforts in both urban and rural communities.”
Brown is a professor at the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology who was initially appointed to the board two years ago. She previously worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and is currently a “distinguished visiting scientist” at ORNL, according to the White House news release.
Evans is the owner of V. Lynn Evans, CPA, an accounting and consulting firm, and a member of the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division board of commissioners. She has previously served as chairman of the panel.
Ritch practices law with the Huntsville firm of Sirote & Permutt. He has served as chairman of the Tennessee Valley Base Realignment and Closures Committee since 1994 and as co-chairman of the Tennessee Valley Growth Coordination Group since 2008, according to the White House. He is also on the University of Alabama Board of Trustees.
Note: Here are the biographies of the latest nominees as they appear in the White House press release:
Dr. Marilyn A. Brown, Nominee for Member, Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority
Marilyn A. Brown is a professor at the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she has served since 2006. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority since September 2010. From 1984 to 2006, Dr. Brown worked at the United States Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), where she held a number of roles, including Director of the Engineering Science and Technology Division from 2005 to 2006. Currently, she serves as a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at ORNL. In 2006, she co-founded the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance and chaired its Board of Directors from 2006 to 2009. Dr. Brown is a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She received a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University, an M.R.P. in Resource Planning from the University of Massachusetts, and a Ph.D. in Geography from The Ohio State University.
V. Lynn Evans, Nominee for Member, Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority
V. Lynn Evans is the owner of V. Lynn Evans, CPA, a certified public accounting and consulting firm established in 1983. Ms. Evans has also served on the Board of Commissioners of Memphis Light, Gas, and Water Division since 2004, and served as Chair of the Board from 2008 to 2009. She has served on the Board of Directors of First Alliance Bank in Memphis, Tennessee, since its inception in 1998. Ms. Evans is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Black Business Association, and the National Association of Women Business Owners. She has served on the boards of a number of community organizations, including ArtsMemphis from 1998 to 2008 and the RISE Foundation from 1997 to 2007, where she was Vice Chair in 2007. Ms. Evans received a B.S. in Accounting from Jackson State University.
Michael McWherter, Nominee for Member, Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority
Michael McWherter is owner and President of Central Distributors Co. and Volunteer Distributing Co., Tennessee-based beverage distribution companies, since 1989 and 1985 respectively. Mr. McWherter worked in private law practice from 1982 to 1985 in Nashville, with a focus on banking and administrative law, and clerked for the Tennessee Supreme Court from 1981 to 1982. He serves as Director and former Chairman of First State Bank of Union City, Tennessee, and is on the Board of Directors of the Jackson Energy Authority in Jackson, Tennessee. Mr. McWherter was the Democratic nominee in the 2010 Tennessee Gubernatorial race. He has served as Director of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Arts Council. From 1988 to 1995, he served as a Member of the Board of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Mr. McWherter received both a B.A and a J.D. from Vanderbilt University.
Joe H. Ritch, Nominee for Member, Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority
Joe H. Ritch is an attorney at the Sirote & Permutt law firm in Huntsville, Alabama, where he has worked since 1982. He has served as Chairman of the Tennessee Valley Base Realignment and Closures Committee since 1994 and as Co-Chairman of the Tennessee Valley Growth Coordination Group since 2008. He also served as a Member of the University of Alabama Board of Trustees from 2005 to 2011. Mr. Ritch serves on the Board of Directors at several other companies and non-profits, including Axiometrics and the Von Braun Center for Innovative Science. He received a B.S. from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a J.D. from Samford University, and an L.L.M. in Taxation from New York University.