Little Rock-based regional transmission organization Southwest Power Pool selected Lanny Nickell as its executive vice president and chief operating officer and elected Bronwen Bastone of New York City to the organization’s board of directors.
Southwest Power Pool announced Tuesday (Jan. 28) Bastone’s position on the board started today and Nickell’s position was effective immediately. Nickell replaces Carl Monroe, the former executive vice president and chief operating officer. In November, Monroe announced he would retire in the first quarter of 2020.
Nickell joined the organization in 1997 and was most recently senior vice president of engineering. In the role, he was responsible for directing development of the organization’s regional transmission expansion plans, provision of generator interconnection, transmission and financial congestion hedging services, administration of regional resource adequacy policies and provision of reliability and market operations engineering support. He established the vision and strategy for the organization’s engineering department of 165 employees and developed its leadership team.
“I’m very pleased for Lanny to serve as SPP’s next chief operating officer,” said president and CEO-elect Barbara Sugg, who will soon take over for retiring president and CEO Nick Brown. “His commitment to SPP and our culture will serve him well in this critical role as we look forward. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Lanny and appreciate the expertise and strategic viewpoint he brings to the team. I’m confident that our operations, engineering and information technology groups will thrive under his leadership and vision.”
Nickell has more than 27 years of transmission planning and operations experience in the electric utility industry. He started at Southwest Power Pool as an operations engineer and helped to establish its reliability coordination and tariff administration functions. He was promoted in 1998 to the management team and became vice president of operations in 2008.
“After more than three decades of leadership at SPP, it’s with great pleasure and confidence that I see a new leadership team taking shape,” Brown said. “SPP and its customers are in good hands with Barbara and Lanny at the helm.”
“It is a rare situation when a board is called upon to fill both the CEO and COO positions at the same time,” said Larry Altenbaumer, chair for the Southwest Power Pool Board of Directors. “It is even rarer for a board to have the luxury of the opportunity to select an individual of Lanny’s caliber to become its new COO. He is a natural complement to SPP’s new CEO, Barbara Sugg, and together — with the other outstanding leaders within SPP — they will help create SPP’s next amazing chapter in providing extraordinary value to SPP’s members and end-use customers.”
Before he joined Southwest Power Pool, Nickell worked in engineering roles for the Public Service Company of Oklahoma and Central and South West Services. He is staff secretary for Southwest Power Pool’s Markets and Operations Policy Committee and serves on community and philanthropic boards. He earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Tulsa and graduated from the advanced management program of Harvard Business School. He is married and has four children.
“I’m excited about SPP’s future and consider myself blessed to be part of its executive team,” Nickell said. “I look forward to working closely with Barbara in her new role, our board of directors and our tremendously talented staff and stakeholders as we continue building upon SPP’s vast history of success. I’m confident we will find new and creative ways to maximize value in the services we provide to our members and customers.”
Bastone was elected to a three-year term on the board. She has worked in human resources and human capital strategy for nearly 20 years, and more than half of that time was spent in financial services. In 2017, she became a partner at Exos Financial, which provides traditional investment banking services that have been integrated into a technology platform.
“On behalf of our board, I am very pleased to welcome Bronwen,” Brown said. “What makes SPP valuable to stakeholders is our talented staff of over 600 employees. Bronwen brings a deep understanding of human capital management and will help us maintain the expertise we need to stay competitive in our rapidly changing industry.”
Before joining Exos Financial, Bastone was senior vice president of human resources at Brookfield Asset Management, executive managing director of human resources at Cushman and Wakefield and chief human resources officer at Knight Capital Group. She earned an MBA from the University of Technology Sydney and a certificate of professional development in finance and accounting from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She also graduated from the senior executive program at Columbia University.
“I am thrilled to be joining the SPP board,” Bastone said. “The challenges facing SPP and the RTO industry as a whole will continue to become more complex, and the need for a more agile, digital and strategic workforce becomes critical to its success. My focus will be working with the SPP board and management to ensure that we continue to attract, engage and strengthen the skills of the workforce to tackle each of the challenges facing SPP in a more innovative and proactive manner.”