NEW ORLEANS (AP) — J. Wayne Leonard will retire Jan. 31 as chairman and chief executive officer of Entergy Corp., the parent company of major electric providers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, the company announced Wednesday.
Leo Denault, currently executive vice president and chief financial officer, will succeed Leonard, the company said in a statement.
Andrew Marsh, currently vice president for system planning, will succeed Denault.
Also retiring is Entergy Wholesale Commodities President Richard Smith. William Mohl, currently chairman, president and CEO of Entergy Louisiana and Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, will succeed Smith.
Entergy has been criticized by some Louisiana officials for what they deemed a slow restoration of power following Hurricane Isaac. Entergy spokesman Chanel Lagarde said the changes announced Wednesday had nothing to do with the criticism.
"The succession plan we announced today is the result of ongoing conversations with the board of directors that have occurred over many months," Lagarde said, noting that the changes don't take effect until February.
Leonard became CEO and joined the board on Jan. 1, 1999, and assumed the additional role of chairman in 2006.
"His bold vision, his willingness to take a stand and speak out on issues important to the company, its stakeholders and our industry, and his unbridled focus on principles-based leadership and 'doing the right thing,' are unmistakable hallmarks of his tenure with Entergy," Entergy's presiding director said in the news release.
Denault joined Entergy in 1999 as vice president for corporate development. In 2004, he became executive vice president and chief financial officer. "During his tenure of financial leadership as CFO, the company delivered the highest operational earnings per share and highest operating cash flow in company history in 2011 and 2010, respectively," the Entergy news release said.
In addition to serving 2.8 million customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, Entergy also operates a fleet of power plants, including 12 nuclear reactors. The reactors sell wholesale electric power to utilities, which then deliver it to customers.