Nearly two-and-a-half years after taking the helm as Entergy Arkansas’ top executive, Rick Riley has been promoted to a new position within parent company Entergy Corp. in New Orleans and will be replaced by the first woman, Laura Landreaux, to head Arkansas’ largest electric utility.
Riley, who serves as president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas, was named Monday (June 18) as senior vice president of distribution operations and asset management at the utility giant’s New Orleans-based headquarters. In his new role, he will support Entergy’s efforts to upgrade and strengthen the company’s electric grid at each of its five operating companies in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. He will now report directly to Rod West, group president, utility operations.
“Our customers’ needs and expectations are evolving rapidly, and we are planning for it by creating a more integrated energy network that provides Entergy and its customers more options in safe, reliable, and affordable products and services,” said West. “A proven leader, Rick brings more than 33 years of industry experience in transmission and distribution operations to this important role. More importantly, his background as a utility president and chief executive officer has provided him with invaluable insights into the needs of our customers.”
Riley was first tabbed in early June 2015 to take over as CEO of Arkansas’ largest electric utility after longtime Entergy Arkansas President and CEO McDonald announced plans to step down in 2016. Under McDonald’s 17-year helm, Entergy Arkansas’ customer base grew to more than 700,000 residential, commercial, industrial and governmental customers located in 63 of Arkansas’ 75 counties, covering over 40,880 square miles.
As part of the Entergy leadership reorganization, Lauren Kenney, vice president of product development and product management, will be promoted to vice president, grid modernization and utility support. She will report to Riley, who called his new role within Entergy an opportunity to ensure the company’s employees have the tools, resources and training necessary to deliver a positive and productive experience to all customers.
“My time in Arkansas has been beyond wonderful, and I will miss working daily with our employees, customers and stakeholders of the Natural State,” he said.
According to company officials, Landreaux, who has worked for the company more than a decade, will replace Riley as president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas, where she will be responsible for Entergy Arkansas’ business results, including financial, operational, customer service, safety, resource planning, economic development, employee development and regulatory and governmental affairs.
Landreaux serves as finance director for Entergy Arkansas. Prior to that role, she was Entergy Arkansas’ vice president of regulatory affairs. She joined the company in 2007.
“Laura’s well-rounded experience makes her the right choice to lead Entergy Arkansas in the future, as we embark on our program to modernize the grid and create an integrated energy network,” said West. “As a native Arkansan, Laura has a keen understanding of the needs of customers and stakeholders in Arkansas, and how best to deliver the value and service they expect in their electricity provider.”
Landreaux received a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas School of Law at Fayetteville, where she was on the Arkansas Law Review. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She is also a former officer and founding member of Arkansas Women in Power and a member of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Women’s Auxiliary, and serves on the board of directors for the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.
Both Riley and Landreaux will assume their new roles on July 1.