Scana Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kevin Marsh, who oversaw the company’s failed nuclear-power expansion, will retire and be replaced by Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Addison effective Jan. 1.
The South Carolina-based utility, which is under state and federal investigations related to its V.C. Summer nuclear plant, announced the changes in a statement Tuesday, a day after a key state lawmaker called on Marsh to resign.
The shakeup comes after Scana and its state-owned utility partner Santee Cooper abandoned the nuclear plant expansion in July after costs spiraled to $20 billion and builder Westinghouse Electric Co. went bankrupt. Scana is resisting a call by state regulators to suspend electricity rate increases that funded the project. The abandonment left Southern Co. as the only builder of new U.S. nuclear reactors.
“Scana decided it was time to show a different face to the regulators and the legislature as well as the general public,” Kit Konolige, a New York-based badyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, said by phone Tuesday. “He’d become too closely identified with the issue.”
Earlier this month, Scana said it received a subpoena from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in connection the project. The company may have “failed to disclose information that should have been disclosed” when it sought rate increases to fund the project, state regulators said in a filing. Scana said it will “fully cooperate.”
“We continue to have some difficult issues to address, but I am also excited by the opportunity to return our focus to our core businesses,” Addison said in the statement.
Scana fell 3.4 percent to $44.34 at 10:10 a.m. in New York. The shares have lost about 28 percent since July 28, the last trading day before the company announced it would abandon the expansion project.
On Monday, Jay Lucas, speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives, called on Marsh to resign. “Neither South Carolina ratepayers nor the South Carolina House of Representatives can have faith in Scana under Marsh’s leadership,” after the company’s “mismanagement” of the V.C. Summer nuclear plant project, Lucas said in an emailed statement.
Santee Cooper replaced its chief executive Oct. 6.