New Leadership for Our Audit Function
June 17, 2021
FirstEnergy today announced that Michael Montaque has been named vice president, Internal Audit, effective July 12. In this role, he will be responsible for developing and executing an audit plan that reflects FirstEnergy’s core values and behaviors; establishing standards and implementing robust procedures to ensure that company audits identify and prevent business risks; and providing independent and objective assurance services regarding the effectiveness and efficiency of the company’s governance, risk management, compliance, and control processes.
Montaque will assume the responsibilities for Internal Audit formerly held by Kevin Burgess, who retired in April after 21 years with the company. He will report to the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors and Hyun Park, senior vice president and chief legal officer. Montaque joins other new members of FirstEnergy’s leadership team that have been added in recent months, including Park and Antonio Fernández, vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer.
“We are thrilled to have a respected finance leader with deep industry experience like Mike play a critical role in bolstering our audit function and supporting our unwavering commitment to integrity and ethical behavior,” said Steven E. Strah, president and chief executive officer. “The addition of Mike to our leadership team represents another important step toward strengthening FirstEnergy’s key internal functions and restoring trust with the company’s stakeholders.”
Montaque is a highly experienced finance professional, having served in executive roles leading internal controls and risk management functions for over 30 years, with a focus on the energy and utility space. He most recently served as Chief Audit Executive at Alliant Energy since 2012, where he oversaw the internal audit and enterprise risk management functions and led culture transformation initiatives for the finance organization.
During his extensive career, Montaque has held various audit and controls positions at leading organizations across industries, including Vice President of Financial Controls at Career Education Corporation, Director of Internal Audit Services at Exelon Corporation, and Vice President of Internal Audit at Washington Mutual Bank. He started his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
Montaque graduated from Howard University, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Accounting. He received his Master of Business Administration and Finance from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Business. He holds various professional certifications, including Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).
FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company’s transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter: @FirstEnergyCorp.
Editor’s Note: A professional photo of Michael Montaque is available for download on Flickr.
Forward-Looking Statements: This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 based on information currently available to management. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. These statements include declarations regarding management’s intents, beliefs and current expectations. These statements typically contain, but are not limited to, the terms “anticipate,” “potential,” “expect,” “forecast,” “target,” “will,” “intend,” “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “plan” and similar words. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, assumptions, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, which may include the following: the effectiveness of our ongoing discussions with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the S.D. Ohio to resolve its investigation with respect to us; the results of the internal investigation and evaluation of our controls framework and remediation of our material weakness in internal control over financial reporting; the risks and uncertainties associated with government investigations regarding Ohio House Bill 6 and related matters including potential adverse impacts on federal or state regulatory matters including, but not limited to, matters relating to rates; the potential of non-compliance with debt covenants in our credit facilities due to matters associated with the government investigations regarding Ohio House Bill 6 and related matters; the risks and uncertainties associated with litigation, arbitration, mediation and similar proceedings; legislative and regulatory developments, including, but not limited to, matters related to rates, compliance and enforcement activity; the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic and financial goals, including, but not limited to, maintaining financial flexibility, overcoming current uncertainties and challenges associated with the ongoing government investigations, executing our transmission and distribution investment plans, greenhouse gas reduction goals, controlling costs, improving our credit metrics, strengthening our balance sheet and growing earnings; economic and weather conditions affecting future operating results, such as a recession, significant weather events and other natural disasters, and associated regulatory events or actions in response to such conditions; mitigating exposure for remedial activities associated with retired and formerly owned electric generation assets; 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, including the increasing number of financial institutions evaluating the impact of climate change on their investment decisions; the extent and duration of COVID-19 and the impacts to our business, operations and financial condition resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19 including, but not limited to, disruption of businesses in our territories, volatile capital and credit markets, legislative and regulatory actions, including the vaccine’s efficacy and the effectiveness of its distribution; the effectiveness of our pandemic and business continuity plans, the precautionary measures we are taking on behalf of our customers, contractors and employees, our customers’ ability to make their utility payment and the potential for supply-chain disruptions; 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; 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 climate change or 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, which 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 reliability standards and energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes to 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 contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger, than currently anticipated; labor disruptions by our unionized workforce; changes to significant accounting policies; any changes in tax laws or regulations, or adverse tax audit results or rulings; and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our SEC filings. Dividends declared from time to time on FirstEnergy Corp.’s common stock during any period may in the aggregate vary from prior periods due to circumstances considered by FirstEnergy Corp.’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 Corp.’s filings with the SEC, including but not limited to the most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K 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. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such factors, nor assess the impact of any such factor on FirstEnergy Corp.’s business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. FirstEnergy Corp. expressly disclaims any obligation to update or revise, except as required by law, any forward-looking statements contained herein or in the information incorporated by reference as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.