Vespoli, Pearson and Lasky Announce Plans to Retire
July 25, 2018
Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy, Regulatory Affairs and Chief Legal Officer Leila Vespoli; Executive Vice President, Finance Jim Pearson; and Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Chief Human Resource Officer Charlie Lasky have announced plans to retire. Leila will retire on April 1, 2019, and Jim will retire no later than that date. Charlie will retire July 1, 2019. Together, these executives have more than 100 years of experience at FirstEnergy and its predecessor companies.
“Leila, Jim and Charlie have been instrumental in the formation of our company through the years, and their contributions cannot be overstated,” said President and CEO Chuck Jones. “Each has played a pivotal role in our mergers, acquisitions and growth, all while helping to keep FirstEnergy a top industry performer, a rewarding place to work and a solid investment for our shareholders. On behalf of the entire FirstEnergy family, I want to thank them for their dedication and support.”
The future reporting relationships of their organizations are being developed as part of the FE Tomorrow effort. It is expected that these positions will not be filled following their retirements.
“I appreciate Leila’s, Jim’s and Charlie’s willingness to remain until we have completed our transition to a fully regulated company and have our new organizational structure in place,” Chuck added. “Please join me in congratulating them on their retirements.”
A Career Marked by Change
Leila joined Ohio Edison in 1984 as an associate attorney after earning a law degree from Case Western Reserve University. Moving upward in the Legal Department, she expanded her expertise in complex legal and regulatory matters as well as in critical operational and financial aspects during the electric utility industry’s march toward deregulation.
“Leila’s strategic approach to problem solving coupled with her business and legal acumen have served our company well in bridging any challenge that came her way,” said Vice President and General Counsel Bob Reffner. “She leaves a legacy of dedication and commitment to our company and to the community that sets the standard for those who follow.”
Leila played a key leadership role in the two mergers that culminated in FirstEnergy becoming a Fortune 200 company. In 2000, she advanced to vice president and general counsel and in 2008, to executive vice president and general counsel where she had responsibility for the Corporate and Communications departments, among other things. Today, she is responsible for Corporate Strategy and Long-Term Planning; Business Development; Federal, State and Local Governmental/Regulatory Affairs; Energy and Market Policy; Economic Development; Legal; and Rates. She is chair of the FirstEnergy Foundation while providing award-winning service to key community boards and initiatives. Her time devoted to groups such as the Girl Scouts has made a difference in the lives of young people. Leila is a member of the FirstEnergy Executive Diversity & Inclusion Council and an executive sponsor of Alternate Current – a FirstEnergy Employee Business Resource Group. A lifelong learner, she completed MIT’s Reactor Technology Course for Utility Executives and the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management’s Director Development Program. Leila and her husband, Tony, have two grown daughters.
Strategic Guidance Through the Years
Jim Pearson began his career with Penn Power in 1976 in the Accounting Department and it soon became apparent that he had more than just a way with numbers. He served in accounting and financial planning roles, but always had a knack for seeing the big picture. Pearson has served on both the corporate and competitive sides of our business, always looking to ensure the company made sound financial decisions while keeping the bottom line in mind.
“Jim has a deep understanding of our company’s financial structure and a gift for articulating our strategy in a way that is clear, transparent and compelling,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Steve Strah. “He has built a great deal of credibility with the investment community, and investors are excited about our company’s future.”
Jim was named group controller for FirstEnergy Solutions (FES), the company’s competitive subsidiary, in 2001, when FES was still fairly new and navigating the unfamiliar waters of deregulation. Known for his straightforward approach and quick mind, Pearson helped position the subsidiary to grow in the years ahead. In 2004, he was named group controller for the Strategic Planning and Operations Group, and treasurer in 2005. Jim was promoted to senior vice president and treasurer in 2012 and added chief financial officer to his title in 2013. He studied at Westminster College where he received a Bachelor of Science degree. He completed MIT’s Reactor Technology Course for Utility Executives and the Harvard Business School’s executive education program, Driving Corporate Performance. Jim and his wife, Marguerite, have two children and two grandchildren.
A Steady Hand on the Wheel
From operating massive power plants to guiding our organization through challenges and change, Charlie Lasky always has led with a steady hand. Understanding both the engineering and people sides of our business has marked Charlie’s career with the company.
“Charlie truly cares about the company and the people who work here,” said Vice President, Human Resources Chris Walker. “He leads by example and always shows compassion and concern for employees. He understands the impact that HR decisions have on the workforce, and he takes that responsibility very seriously.”
Charlie joined Ohio Edison in 1986 as an engineer at the Sammis Plant in Stratton, Ohio. After a stint at the R. E. Burger Plant in Shadyside, Ohio, he became Industrial Relations coordinator at the Akron General Office in 1994, where he was involved with union negotiations. He returned to operations, serving at a number of fossil plants, before being named director of the Bruce Mansfield Plant in Shippingport, Pa., in 2001. Running the company’s largest power plant – a hulking 2,490 megawatts of capacity – combined his engineering expertise with his people skills. From there, Charlie went on to become vice president of Fossil Fleet Operations in 2004. He was named senior vice president of Human Resources in 2015 and to his current position in 2018. Charlie earned his Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Akron and is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He graduated from the University of Michigan Business School Executive Program and completed MIT’s Reactor Technology Course for Utility Executives. Charlie and his wife, Debbie, have three daughters and their first grandchild is on the way.