Chuck Jones Addresses Shareholders
May 21, 2019
Through its customer-focused growth initiatives and commitment to corporate responsibility, FirstEnergy is focused on creating a brighter future for its shareholders, customers, communities and employees, said President & CEO Chuck Jones. Chuck addressed shareholders gathered for FirstEnergy’s annual meeting.
“I’ve been with FirstEnergy for more than forty years, and I’m certain 2018 was one of the most pivotal and productive in our company’s history,” Chuck said.
Chuck cited FirstEnergy’s transition to a fully regulated utility, stronger balance sheet, streamlined support organization and continued investments in customer-focused growth initiatives as key achievements in 2018. He also noted that the Board of Directors approved a new dividend policy late last year and an initial dividend increase for the first quarter of 2019 that reflects its confidence in FirstEnergy’s long-term, sustainable growth plans.
“This new policy supports an expected increase in shareholder returns as we continue to invest in our strategic initiatives. It’s worth noting that our stock ended the year with a total shareholder return of nearly 28 percent, making FirstEnergy the best performer in the Edison Electric Institute Index,” Chuck said.
Chuck noted that the annual meeting theme, “Energy for a Brighter Future,” captures the spirit and momentum behind the company’s efforts to build a smarter, stronger, more secure electric grid for customers, as well as FirstEnergy’s efforts to inform and engage stakeholders on topics ranging from the company’s environmental footprint to diversity and inclusion, corporate governance and community support.
“Energy for a Brighter Future is also about meeting our commitment to environmental, social and governance initiatives that support our mission to make customers’ lives brighter, the environment better and our communities stronger,” he said.
A transcript of Chuck’s prepared remarks can be found here.
Preliminary Voting Results
FirstEnergy also announced preliminary voting results from its 2019 Annual Meeting. Shareholders reelected each of the 11 nominees to the company’s Board of Directors and ratified the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as the company’s independent registered public accounting firm. On an advisory basis, shareholders also approved named executive officer compensation.
Based on preliminary results, the management proposals to amend the company’s governing documents to replace existing supermajority voting requirements with a majority voting power threshold, implement majority voting for uncontested director elections and implement proxy access each received the requisite vote. A non-binding shareholder proposal relating to simple majority vote also passed. It will be implemented through the passage of the management proposal related to majority voting power threshold.
All preliminary voting results are subject to final certification.
The following directors were elected to one-year terms:
- Michael J. Anderson, chairman and retired chief executive officer of The Andersons, Inc.
- Steven J. Demetriou, chairman and chief executive officer and director of Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.
- Julia L. Johnson, president of NetCommunications, LLC
- Charles E. Jones, president and chief executive officer of FirstEnergy Corp.
- Donald T. Misheff, retired managing partner of the Northeast Ohio offices of Ernst & Young LLP
- Thomas N. Mitchell, chairman of the World Association of Nuclear Operators
- James F. O’Neil III, principal owner, Forefront Solutions, LLC
- Christopher D. Pappas, former president and chief executive officer of Trinseo S.A.
- Sandra Pianalto, retired president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
- Luis A. Reyes, retired regional administrator of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
- Leslie M. Turner, retired senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of The Hershey Company
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(FES), its subsidiaries, and FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) (FES Bankruptcy) that could adversely affect us, our liquidity or results of operations, including, without limitation, that conditions to the FES Bankruptcy settlement agreement may not be met or that the FES Bankruptcy settlement agreement may not be otherwise consummated, and if so, the potential for litigation and payment demands against us by FES or FENOC or their creditors; the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic and financial goals, including, but not limited to, our strategy to operate and grow as a fully regulated business, to execute our transmission and distribution investment plans, to continue to reduce costs through FE Tomorrow, which is the FirstEnergy initiative launched in late 2016 to identify our optimal organization structure and properly align corporate costs and systems to efficiently support FirstEnergy as a fully regulated company going forward, and other initiatives, and to improve our credit metrics, strengthen our balance sheet and grow earnings; legislative and regulatory developments at the federal and state levels, including, but not limited to, matters related to rates, compliance and enforcement activity; economic and weather conditions affecting future operating results, such as significant weather events and other natural disasters, and associated regulatory events or actions; changes in assumptions regarding economic conditions within our territories, the reliability of our transmission and distribution system, or the availability of capital or other resources supporting identified transmission and distribution investment opportunities; changes in customers’ demand for power, including, but not limited to, the impact of state and federal energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes in national and regional economic conditions affecting us and/or our major industrial and commercial customers or others with which we do business; the risks associated with cyber-attacks and other disruptions to our information technology system that may compromise our operations, and data security breaches of sensitive data, intellectual property and proprietary or personally identifiable information; the ability to comply with applicable state and federal reliability standards and energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes to federal and state environmental laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, those related to climate change; changing market conditions affecting the measurement of certain liabilities and the value of assets held in our pension trusts and other trust funds, or causing us to make additional contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger, than currently anticipated; the risks associated with the decommissioning of our retired and former nuclear facilities; the risks and uncertainties associated with litigation, arbitration, mediation and like proceedings; labor disruptions by our unionized workforce; changes to significant accounting policies; any changes in tax laws or regulations, including the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or adverse tax audit results or rulings; the ability to access the public securities and other capital and credit markets in accordance with our financial plans, the cost of such capital and overall condition of the capital and credit markets affecting us; actions that may be taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect either our access to or terms of financing or our financial condition and liquidity; and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in FirstEnergy’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings. Dividends declared from time to time on FirstEnergy’s common stock, and thereby on FirstEnergy’s preferred stock, during any period may in the aggregate vary from prior periods due to circumstances considered by FirstEnergy’s Board of Directors at the time of the actual declarations. A security rating is not a recommendation to buy or hold securities and is subject to revision or withdrawal at any time by the assigning rating agency. Each rating should be evaluated independently of any other rating. These forward-looking statements are also qualified by, and should be read together with, the risk factors included in FirstEnergy’s filings with the SEC, including but not limited to the most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, and any subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. The foregoing review of factors also should not be construed as exhaustive. 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