Southwest Power Pool approves Barbara Sugg as next president, CEO

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 1,433 views 

Little Rock-based regional transmission organization Southwest Power Pool announced Wednesday (Jan. 15) that Barbara Sugg will be its next president and CEO. Sugg, senior vice president of information technology and chief security officer for the organization, will start in the position later this year.

Sugg will replace Nick Brown, who has been president and CEO since 2003. In July 2019, Brown announced his plans to retire in April 2020. The Southwest Power Pool Board of Directors will work with Sugg and Brown over the next few weeks to develop a transition plan. An official start date for Sugg’s new role has yet to be determined.

The appointment of Sugg as president and CEO followed a months-long, nationwide search and selection process. Management consulting firm Russell Reynolds Associates identified and vetted internal and external candidates in the search. A selection committee consisting of Brown and board members interviewed the candidates. The board of directors interviewed the top finalists and accepted the recommendation of the selection committee. The board voted unanimously to name Sugg as president and CEO.

“We are excited to welcome Barbara to lead the SPP organization,” said board chair Larry Altenbaumer. “On behalf of the board and selection committee, I’m proud we were able to choose from among a slate of world-class candidates. The board believes Barbara is well-suited to continue to strengthen SPP’s foundational attributes while recognizing the need and opportunity to improve our efficiency and effectiveness. She is equipped to develop, build and strengthen the relationships that are increasingly critical to the sustained success of our organization and particularly those with our members and regulators. We look forward to seeing Barbara lead the organization in establishing itself as the premier RTO in providing comprehensive value in a rapidly changing and increasingly uncertain industry landscape.”

The organization is working to expand its Western Energy Services offerings in the Western Interconnection and looking to implement many interrelated enhancements to its market, transmission-planning functions and tariff that was developed from the recent Holistic Integrated Tariff Team effort.

Barbara Sugg

“This particular chapter in SPP’s ongoing evolution is ripe with both opportunity and challenge,” said Brown, who joined the organization in 1985. “It’s been my privilege to oversee SPP’s transition from a small entrepreneurial organization to the going concern it is today. As our industry and the very nature of electricity use in the U.S. continues to change, SPP will have an ever-increasing role to play in ensuring the reliability and affordability of electric power. I’m excited to watch Barbara and the organization take on these challenges.”

In her existing role, Sugg directs the development, architecture, implementation, monitoring, support, security and telecommunications services that the organization provides to its members and customers. She is responsible for establishing information technology (IT) strategy and policies and developing the IT leadership team. The department has 165 employees.

Sugg has 30 years of IT experience in the electric utility industry. She joined Southwest Power Pool in 1997 as a senior IT specialist, focusing on application development and maintenance for computer systems that supported tariff administration, reliability coordination and regional energy scheduling. She has been a part of the organization’s management team since 1999 and became vice president of information technology in 2010 and chief security officer in 2016. She earned a Bachelor of Science in computer science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1986 and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 2013.

Sugg is staff secretary for Southwest Power Pool’s Strategic Planning Committee and helped facilitate the organization’s Value and Affordability Taskforce. In 2018, she founded the Leadership Foundation for Women, a Little Rock-based nonprofit focused on equipping women for success. She is married and has two children and one grandchild.

“I am both honored and humbled to have been selected by SPP’s board of directors and have enjoyed working closely with them for nearly two decades,” Sugg said. “I look forward to serving in this role and engaging with the SPP board, our diverse stakeholder community and our amazing employees in Little Rock. SPP’s long-term success is my highest priority.”

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