NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The state’s largest physician organization is making some staff changes for the new year.
The main one that takes effect this week is the move of Russ Miller from executive vice president of the Tennessee Medical Association to chief executive officer.
Miller is a veteran public relations and marketing professional who has been with TMA since 1987. He takes over for Don Alexander, who is retiring after 40 years with TMA.
The organization represents 8,000 physicians and medical students statewide and is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the state Legislature.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Valley Authority’s board has chosen a former energy chief from North Carolina, who was ousted from his previous company earlier this year, to succeed retiring Tom Kilgore as the chief executive of the nation’s largest public utility.
Bill Johnson was CEO of Progress Energy and had been slated to lead Duke Energy when the two companies combined to form the nation’s largest investor-owned utility in July. But within hours of the merger Johnson was out, replaced by Jim Rogers, who had been Duke’s CEO but was slated to become executive chairman.
The surprise ouster has prompted North Carolina’s utility regulator to investigate whether the state and public were misled during the merger approval process.
At a news conference in Knoxville on Monday, TVA Board Chairman Bill Sansom expressed total confidence in the board’s choice of leadership. He said the board was unanimous in its support for Johnson.
A day after TVA’s chief executive said he is stepping down, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker warned Friday that the board that will pick a new TVA head includes too many directors without corporate experience or the financial skills to oversee a complex agency like TVA.
More from the Chattanooga Times-Free Press: “As you look at TVA today as an $11 billion-a-year company with tremendous challenges, it has a board of directors with the qualifications that I think would cause most Tennesseans to be very concerned,” Corker said. “We have only one person on the board, to my knowledge, who even has any corporate board experience.”
Currently, only six of the nine seats on TVA’s board are filled and, unless Congress acts to confirm new members, the TVA board could shrink to only four members and lack a quorum by the end of the year.
Corker said he personally likes the members of the TVA board. But he said too many directors were appointed based upon geographic or partisan politics, not the person’s experience and skills to oversee America’s biggest government utility. Corker said in he past one TVA director admitted he didn’t know what was a “P&L statement” of profits and losses.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said in a statement Friday that he agrees with Corker that “the new governance structure [adopted for TVA in 2004] has not worked out as well as I had hoped.
“But I believe it can work if the president will nominate well-qualified board members who then pick a strong chief executive and allow that executive plenty of latitude to lead TVA,” Alexander said.
Members of the TVA board are appointed for five-year terms by the president and must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The board must hire a new chief executive by the end of the year to replace Tom Kilgore, the 64-year-old engineer who announced his retirement Thursday after six years as TVA’s top officer.
President Barack Obama has nominated another financial expert to serve on the TVA board — Hilliard Lyons Financial Services Chairman Peter Mahurin of Kentucky — but the U.S. Senate has yet to confirm the appointment.
The terms of three retired bankers — Dennis Bottorff, of Nashville, Mike Duncan of Kentucky and Tom Gilliland of Blairsville, Ga., — ended last December.
Only TVA Chairman Bill Sansom now is qualified to meet federal regulations for TVA’s audit committee. Sansom, a former member of then Gov. Lamar Alexander’s cabinet, has served on several corporate boards, including First Tennessee Bank and Astec Industries in Chattanooga.
…Former TVA Chairman Craven Crowell, a Democrat who also worked on Capital Hill, said the qualifications of board members should have been better described in the reforms Congress adopted to replace the original three-member full-time TVA board with its current nine-member, part-time board.
“When the board was enlarged there were no congressional hearings to consider the unintended consequences of the change,” he said. “We ended up with a major restructuring of the board without any requirement for a balance of experience and politics on the board and with part-time board members who don’t always have the time for the steep learning curve involved with leading TVA.”
— Note: TVA’s part-time board served as a model for Gov. Bill Haslam’s legislation transforming the Tennessee Regulatory Authority from having full-time directors and no executive director to a part-time board with a full-time executive director.
News release from Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry:
The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the voice of business in the state and Tennessee’s largest trade association representing employers and their employees, has launched a search for a new President and CEO.
The new executive will replace Deb Woolley, who left the Chamber effective May 31 under terms of her employment agreement.
Wayne Scharber, the Chamber’s Vice President for Environment and Taxation has been named interim president, according to Bill Ozier, Chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Scharber has been with the Chamber for 13 years and was employed for 36 years in state government.
“We are fortunate to have someone as trusted and experienced as Wayne to help us steer the Chamber forward during this interim period,” Ozier said. All Chamber programs and services will continue as usual while the executive search is under way.
“We are going to build on the Tennessee Chamber’s 100-year track record of success, with new programs and fresh ideas on how better to serve Tennessee businesses and industries,” Ozier continued.
He added that a key part of the Chamber’s mission is a strong and cooperative relationship with the Governor and General Assembly. Ozier said the Chamber plans to have a new CEO in place later this year, “so that individual and the entire Chamber can work with the Administration and legislators to uphold Tennessee’s well-deserved reputation as a prosperous and business-friendly state.”
Ozier said the Chamber believes the outlook for business in Tennessee is “excellent and filled with opportunities. Our goal is to help our member businesses succeed in every possible way.”